As I have been interviewing grandmothers for my book, SUPER GRANNY, I have loved hearing all the different names that their grandchildren call them by. There’s Granny, of course, and Grandma, and Nana. And then a host of others.
I am Oma to all my grandchildren. This started because Jennifer, the mother of Stefan, my first grandchild, was married to a German man, and Oma is the German name for Grandma. There’s also Grossmutter – but that’s a bit more formal. When Stefan and his sisters visit us here in the U.S., I am just Oma. But when we visit them in Germany, I am Oma Sally, to distinguish me from Oma Mitzi, their other grandmother. When our two U.S.-based grandchildren came along, it seemed easier for all of them to call me by the same name. I don’t know how my mother remembered who she was to all her grandchildren! My children called her Granny, my brother Buddy’s children (who had lived in Italy) called her Nonna, and my brother Carl’s children called her Bubby, the Yiddish word for grandmother. They called my grandmother, who was their great-grandmother, Bubby-Bubby. She had always been Grandmom to me.
Some grandmother names reflect a child’s first learning to talk – like Bam and Gamma and GamGam. Pally reflects one grandmother’s habitual greeting, “Hey, Pal!” There’s Ammamma (Indian), Savta (Israeli), Meema (I think this means Mom in Hebrew), and Babu (Nepali). Some grandmothers go by their first names, easy for little ones to say and special to the grandchildren, not the grown children, who still say “Mom.”
I’d love to hear more grandmother names!