What Do You Call Your Grandparents?

5/31/2017

What Do You Call Your Grandparents?
Arlo’s G-Man and Nana on their first trip to meet him, their 7th grandchild!

I remember when my first niece was born (back when I was 13! And now she’s a teenager. Gosh, I feel old. Anyway…), the topic of what to call all the grandparents (There were 6 of them!) came up. It’s something I had never thought about before because my grandparents were just regular old Grandma and Grandpa.

After much discussion, my parents ended up being Nana and… wait for it… G-Man. My dad wasn’t a fan of any of the typical grandpa words, he wanted something “cooler” so he dubbed himself G-Man. And, well, it stuck! I remember being so mad at him because my teenage-self thought it was sooooooo embarrassing. I was all “Well, my kids are never calling you that.” But now I can’t picture him being called anything else and alas, Arlo will call him G-Man! It’s just so fitting and perfect for him.

My mom actually called her grandfather “Daddy Dad” and my nieces and nephews call their other grandmother Gram. Then when I met Jeff, he called his maternal grandmother, Idee (her name was Ida) and his maternal grandfather, Poppy.

Since Arlo is Jeff’s parents first grandchild, we broached the topic with them when we first started seriously trying to grow our family. They thought about it for quite some time and finally decided on Lolo and Poppy. Lolo was Jeff’s mom’s nickname when she was a child and Poppy is in honor of his grandfather (who Arlo is also named after, Mitchell).

I find it all so SOO fascinating! So I thought it would be fun to hear… what do YOU guys call your grandparents?? Or, what do your children call your parents or parental figures? Any funny or interesting stories behind why they call them those names!? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

p.s. If you’re sensing a theme… I’m obsessed with names!!

62 comments

  • Abby

    My mom’s parents were always MiMi and Papa. We started calling her Mimi when I was a toddler because I was sitting at the end of the table calling her Meanie and that was how all of my aunts covered my back by convincing her I was calling her Mimi. I also babysat for a group of kids who called their grandma Gand-Di. She (like your dad) did not want to be called anything grandma like, so she asked to be called th Grand Diva, but the kids shortened it.

    • Kelly

      Omg hahaha! Too many good stories!! I love that you were calling her Meanie. Hahah!

  • Ellen Ulschmid

    Nana and Paka! Not sure where paka came from!

  • Lauren

    We’re going through the same conundrum right now, trying to choose names for my parents and in-laws for our child, who will be arriving in September! I think we’ve got 3 of the 4 figured out lol

    • Kelly

      Haha! It’s quite the discussion, right!? I think Jeff’s Dad’s name was the one that took us all the longest!

  • Heather B

    Oh my goodness that’s so fun! My grandparents were just Gram/Grandma & Grandpa. Although when my brother were really little we did differentiate between my maternal and paternal grandmother by referring to them as “Black” and “White” grandma! (One of them got gray/white hair before the other one!)

  • Drew

    My grandparent’s are Gigi and Fossil. My grandmother felt grandma was too old sounding so she went with Gigi. My grandfather on the other hand joked about how he was ” just an old fossil” and that stuck. We lovingly call him Fossil.

  • Lucy

    It’s easy to decide when your parents come from europe! Nonno is grandfather and Nonna is grandmother in Italian and my parents are Italian so that’s what they are to my 5 nieces and nephews.

  • Kristina B

    My Greek grandparents (whom I never got to meet) are Yaya and Papu which is traditional. And my mom’s parents are just Grandma and Papa. My best friend’s little boy has a Mimi and a Nana, both I love. My in-laws are Bubbie (not Jewish though) and a Popsie (kinda dumb 😆) to my niece and nephew.
    I think G-man is hilarious and I LOVE Lolo! So cute!

    • Kelly

      We talked about Bubbe and Zayde for Jeff’s Dad (he’s Jewish) but Poppy is what stuck. I love Popsie!!!

  • Chelsea

    My nieces and nephew call my mom & dad Nana and Bapu. My mom’s name is Nancy and she often goes by the nickname Nan so that one was a no-brainer. Bapu was originally a nickname that I gave my dad after watching The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I thought that Alexis Bledel’s character was calling her grandfather Bapu, when in reality it was Papou (a Greek word for grandfather). Anyhow, it ended up catching on with the grandkids and now my dad will forever be known as Bapu. Funny enough, it turns out to be a Hindi word for grandfather, so it all works out! P.S. I LOVE talking about names, too!

    • Kelly

      Best story EVER! I always think of her character when I hear the Greek names for grandparents!

  • Sydni

    I have always had unusual names for my grandparents! I call my grandmother “Bebe”(pronounced like Beh-Beh) and my grandfather “Binky.” Both of these names somehow came about when I was a toddler. No one really knows where the nickname Bebe came from, but we learned years later that it’s the Jewish name for grandmother. It’s very interesting because we aren’t Jewish and I didn’t know a single Jewish person at two years old. I called Santa Claus “Binky Claus” for some odd reason. My grandpa had a beard, so I associated him with Santa, though I was aware that he wasn’t actually Santa. Thus, the “Claus” was dropped and he just became Binky!

  • Melissa Lawrence

    My situation is a little complex, but here goes:

    My Moms parents are my: Straight up, Granny and grandpa.
    Step Dads parents are my, Afrikaans South African: Ouma and Oupa

    My Dads parents are my: Grannith Annith (Her name is Anne, and I am the only one who refers to her as this, everyone else calls her Granny Annie.) and GPP (Grand Pa Pete).
    Step Moms parents are my, British: Nan and Grandad.

  • Savannah

    My cousin has a G-man. They normally just call him “G.”
    And I had a Poppy too. My Poppy Jim!

  • Michelle Bowser

    Gram Grams and Papa!

  • Kristen

    My husband was adopted and has 2 dads who we call PeaPaw & PawPaw. My mom and step dad are Gramma B & Papa Tutu. We also have a regular Grampa & JuJu. I call my grandparents Nanny & Gpaw.

  • Stephanie

    So growing up my grandparents were just grandma Shirley and grandpa woody. I didn’t have a chance to know the others but on my moms side they were all just grandma/grandpa and their name. The best one though was my great grandma who we called Grandma Mom because my mom and her siblings always called her mom after hearing their own mother call her mom and when all of us were born, she was our grandma’s mom so she became grandma mom! Growing up with a Spanish speaking dad, we all called him papa so when our nieces and nephews were born and starting calling the fil papa I knew that wouldn’t work for us. So we just kinda continued with everyone being Grandpa and Grandma with their name except for my Spanish speaking mil who is Abuelita.

  • Katie

    We called my dad’s parents Nana & Poppy. We’re expecting now and have been having this same discussion with my parents and our grandparents! My dad wants to be called Poppy like his dad, but my mom is being all weird about it — she has suggested “Gam Gam,” “Gaga (like Lady Gaga I said?)” and “Sugar.” Haha, no, mom.

    My husband’s grandmother will go by Gigi (as in, great grandmother), because that’s what we called her late mother. It’s all so interesting!

    We live in Italy currently and I’ve also suggested that we use Nonna, which is Italian for grandmother 🙂 I think that’s where Nana comes from!

    • Kelly

      “No, mom.” hahahaha!! I love her suggestions, that’s amazing.

  • Nina McClure

    I love this conversation! I always love to find out what my friends call their grand parents!

    Mine are/we’re:
    Nana and Grand-D (mom’s parents, my older cousins helped named them)
    Gammy and Pop (dad’s parents, chose own names)
    Mom Mom and Papa Dave (mom’s bio parents that she found as an adult! Mom mom came around because her first grand kid kept calling her “mom”. She said “no, I’m your mom’s mom!” And mom mom stuck)

  • Steph M.

    My niece and nephew call my parents Papa (like paa-paw…thanks to our southern IN accents) and Nana Sus. My husband’s family are calling his parents Poppy and Teetee(her name is Therese). I was not a big fan of what she chose for herself, but the kids love it and it’s cute hearing them scream it! Ha!

  • Jordan

    Love this post!!! I call my grandpa “Da” – pronounced like “Ah!” with a D in the front of it which I started when I was a baby somehow and my grandma on that side is just gram. We call my other grandpa Boppy or Bop, which is a term coined by my brother when he was little. And then I have a great grandma we call Carter which is her last name. We don’t say grandma or anything in front of it! Haha. And my husband has great grandparents, Oma and Poppy. All of the others are just the standard grandma + grandpa. =) I love Lolo and Gman!

  • les

    on my moms side i never met my grandpa cause he passed before he was born.
    but for her mother, her mother’s name is Rosa Lidia, so everyone called her Mama Lidia. (still do) but then my aunt had her daughter and she couldnt pronounce it so she started calling her
    mama polita (i guess in english it would translate mom grandma (polita is her way of saying abuelita which is grandma in spanish)…sounds cuter in spanish) so ever since then, we’ve called her mama polita and my cousin is about to be 9 years old! 🙂

    as for my dads parents, they lived in El Salvador and while i did meet them, to us they were just grandma & grandpa.

    and since none of my moms kids have kids, we all call her grandma when were referring to our dogs. lol

    • Kelly

      We have always referred to our parents as grandparents when talking to Bella! hahah!

  • Wendy

    This is a fun topic! I always think it’s so interesting that everyone take a different approach on this.

    We’ve always called my paternal grandparents granny and grampy.

    My maternal grandmother when by “grandma Marilyn”… I’m not sure why her first name was thrown in there, but it was always said together!

    My mom has already chosen her grandmother name (when she’s many years from being a grandmother… oh goodness). She wants to go by GrandKat (her name is Kathy).

  • Anna

    My grandparents on both sides were also just regular old Grandma and Grandpa and I never really thought twice about it. My mother’s Swedish maternal grandmother was Mor Mor (Meaning mother’s mother). I’m hoping when I have kids my parents and in-laws want fun grandparent names! I, however, literally can’t wait for the day I get to be Nana Anna!

  • Megan

    My sister has kids and they call my parents Yaya (because she would “yaya” them to sleep as babies) and Papa. When my kiddos come along we will most likely use the same names because they are totally Yaya and Papa forever and ever, the end!

    My in laws are Mexican (my MIL only speaks Spanish) so I am guessing my kiddos will call them abuelito or abuelita or some variation of that. We have not broached the subject with them yet but if they wanted to be called something else I would be down with that!

    Growing up both sets of grandparents were just Grandma and Grandpa, not much variation. But, as a kid, after watching Little Mermaid I tried to call my Grandpa “Grimsby” and he told me to stop. “That is not my name, I am Grandpa.” LOL!

  • Tamara

    In the netherlands we call grandma’s oma and grandpa’s opa. My daughter just uses that, sometimes with the addition of their first name if all of them are with her at the same time ( she also had 6 grandparents)

  • Karla

    I call my grandmas Abiba (I made it up when I was a toddler, it comes from “Abuela” hahaha) and the other one I call Bela Mami (kind of Grandma Mommy if that makes sense) that last one id my older cousins creation, he lived with our grandma when he was starting to talk and he would always hear my aunt call my grandma “mami” (here in the DR almost everyone calls their Mom “Mami”) so he put both things together and bam Bela Mami it was. Bela is just short for Abuela.

  • Isabelle

    I guess all grandmothers are Nana or Mimi sometimes! And Papa still in vogue!

  • Alicia

    My parents were going to be Nana and Grandfather. The kids couldn’t pronounce those as babies and just called the mumma and bubba. It stuck.

  • Abbey Kay

    I always called my dad’s parents, “my dad’s mom & dad” or sometimes “grandma & grandpa”. We weren’t allowed around them much so they weren’t really grandparent figure to my brothers & me.

    But my mom’s parents I called Gra & Pa. I guess before I was born my cousin couldn’t say grandma & grandpa, so when she started calling them that it stuck. I love those names!

    My parents are called Nonnie & Papa. My sister-in-law & I called my dad “Papa Tony” long before a grandchild arrived because we could imagine our kids asking him for things & saying that. My mom isn’t Italian, but she married one & therefore she wanted to be called Nonnie.

    Grandparent names are super intriguing to me as well!!

  • Amy Cluck-McAlister

    My grandparents on my mom’s side were the kind of grandparents that would sing and dance and get down on the floor and play with you. I always called them Grams & Gramps. One day my grandma asked why I decided she was a “Grams” instead of a Grandma. I told her “because Grams are weird!” haha. We had a silly relationship like that.

  • Hems

    This is such a unique fun topic. Never have thought about discussing something like this.

    I am Indian(from the south), we dont decide on any names. It just happens, how the kids end up calling them once they start talking. Me and all my other cousins call my maternal grandma as ‘Ammaiyee’ and grandpa as ‘Appuchi'(never got to meet him, but i refer him as this when i ask about him to my Ammaiyee). And paternal side, ‘Aatha’ and ‘Thatha’.

    • Kelly

      So glad you think it’s fun too!! From the looks of these comments, it sounds like the kids decide the grandparent’s names all over the world! Ha! So funny to hear how the stories and names unfold.

  • Jen Kessler

    I always just called mine grandma and grandpa too but now that my parents are grandparents we call my mom GIGI, my stepdad POPPY and my dad GRAN. Haha!

  • Mindy

    As the oldest grandchild, I called my Grandma Ida “Grandma Idee,” too! It stuck, & that’s what all eleven of her grandchildren called her!

  • Paige

    Such an interesting idea that I’ve hardly ever put thought into!

    My maternal grandparents went by Gran and wait for it…Popsidudes. I was the first of their grandchildren and he also wanted something cool to go by. As the years have gone by, he has asked that we call him Pops because he’s too old for silly nicknames, but we simply CANNOT stop calling him Popsidudes, that would be insane.

    My paternal grandparents are from Denmark, so they Farmor and Farfar, meaning father’s mother and father’s father. It is so traditional for my family, but people get very confused when they read those names or hear us say either word.

    Thank you for sharing, Kelly!

  • Kate Wins

    My sister was in charge of naming our two grandmothers. We call one of them “Kitty” because she has cats and the other “Wowo” because that is what my late grandfather used to call dogs! I am a teenager and I still call them both that!

  • Amanda

    Our son has 6 grandparents and 3 great-grandparents so we had to get creative with names we have: Lola, train grandad, grandma Piggy (her name is peggy but he says piggy), Nanma, Pops, Gigi and Big Bird (my dad) 😂, big grandad, old grandad (yes really), grandad with the cat (see we lost enthusiasm and just went literal in the end).

    Amanda x

  • Christa

    We, my cousins and I, started calling our grandparents G-ma and G-pa sometime in our teenage years. I don’t really know why, maybe we thought it sounded cool, but it has come in useful now that there are some great-grandchildren running around. Before the greats were born we pretty much used Grandma and G-ma or vice-versa interchangeably but that can get confusing so its just G-ma or G-pa now.
    The words we use to describe our families have always been interesting to me because they are so individual. Like in my family, “the adults” will always be my parents and my aunts and uncles; and “the kids” will always be my cousins and I, even though the youngest of us will be going to college next year. We call the next generation “the littles’ or “the greats”.

  • Victoria Shingleton

    My maternal grandparents were Memaw and Granddaddy, and my paternal grandparents were Granny and Grandpa.

    My aunt has a pretty cool grandparent name of G.G. (pronounced “Jee-Jee”) which stands for Granny Gates, and my uncle is Pop.

  • Adeline

    We’ve got Yaya and Papa (not Greek!) Grama and Papa (many papas) Boom and Papa (she fell like, 30 years ago and went “Boom!”) and the best I ever heard was Gammy and Peep! Xx

  • Mary

    My maternal grandparents were Grandmother and Grandfather, which now seems very proper, but just suited them. And at the tail end of 16 cousins/grands on that side, it was what everyone called them so I knew nothing else. My paternal grandparents were Nana and Grandad. Not sure where those came from.

    My mom thought she’d want to be called Grandmother as well, but when I was pregnant, she felt that it was too strongly connected to her mother and wanted to preserve that. As a Francophile, she picked the frenchy Mimi. I don’t remember when I picked out the name for my dad, but much to his chagrin, we now call him Grampy. I got it from Betty Boop! He resisted it strongly at first, but it just suits him so well.

    My husband is Puerto Rican, and his parents are Abuelo and Abuela, which I love!

  • Indya | TheSmallAdventurer

    I only had two grandparents, and only one of them is still around. My grandfather on my Mother’s side was always called “Poppy Bluey”, as “Bluey” was his nickname. I’m not even sure what his real name is as he was always referred to as “Bluey”! On my Dad’s side, I have my Nan, but my younger cousins call her “Nanny”.

    There really is so many different names for grandparents out there! I’ve known a few people from other cultures who spoke primarily English, but would refer to their grandparents as the names that were common in the country that they’re from. It’s all quite interesting!

    http://www.thesmalladventurer.blogspot.com.au/

  • Molly

    I call my Grandparents: G-Dad and Nanna/Glamma xoxo

  • Emily K

    My parents are Granny and Poppy but my dad also often gets called Grandalf. It’s so gloriously nerdy!

  • Sarah

    Well, my husband and mum are Thai, so our daughter calls her Thai grandparents by the Thai words for grandparents. In Thai language there’s a different word for maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother and same with grandfathers. So hubby’s mum is called Yah, his dad is Bpoo and my mum is called Yai and my dad is Australian so I came up with G-pa (thought it would be easier to say as she was learning to talk) but sometimes she’ll call him Pa-pa.

  • Lindzi

    I LOVE THIS! it makes me so happy! We are expecting our first baby at the minute, and it is the first grandchild on either side and I was excited to find out what our parents want to be known as too 🙂

    I called my own grandmothers Granny (which is really common here in Northern Ireland/ Ireland) and my grandfathers Papa (which is not common and I have no idea where it came from!) Except… My Papa Jack who I was very very close to, I just called him ‘Jack’ if i was talking to him, or Papa Jack if I was talking about him.

    My husband’s parents decided they want to be Bunny and Papa! hahaha

    And my own parents are shell shocked and have no idea what they want to be called (they still think they are teenagers!)

    I love the idea of using a childhood nickname instead of Gran or Granda 🙂

  • Kat

    I always called both sets Grandma and Grandpa [Last Name]. My son is 4 and started calling my parents Mama and Papa, even though I always had referred to them as his Grandma and Grandpa. So they are officially Mama and Papa!

  • Amanda Taylor

    I called my mom’s parents grandpa and grandma and I called my dad’s parents pop-po and grandma. I was the first grandchild for both sets and my mom says I pretty much dictated what they would be called because she she would always refer to the four of them as grandpa and grandma when she was talking to me, but when I started talking I called my dad’s dad pop-po and refused to call him grandpa. But my mom’s mom tried so hard to get me to call her granny and I refused to do that as well and would only call her grandma. I really think in a lot of cases no matter what you may want to be called, the first grandchild names you and that’s that 🙂 Or maybe I’m just stubborn. Ha!

  • Annefloor

    Cool topic :D.
    We just used the Dutch words for grandpa (opa) and grandma (oma). But referring to them in a conversation between my parents and my sister we called my mother’s mom “oma Dieren”, after the town she lived in. Dieren also means animals btw.
    My father’s mom was called “oma bye bye” because she always said “bye bye!” when she left or ended a phone call. I only had one grandfather so we didn’t give him a nickname.

  • Claire

    My sister is pregnant with the first kid on both sides of the family so this has been a hot topic! My mom (jokingly, I think) said she wanted to be called InstaGram! But we opted for Nana 😉

    Maternal side, we had Nana Tina and Popop and Paternal side was Nana Rose and Poppy Doc (since he was a doctor and everyone called him Dockey)

  • Katerina Murray

    I have never been alive to meet either of my grandfathers so I don’t know what to call them. I always try to avoid the topic of their names. But, I do call both of my grandmothers Nana. It does get a bit complicated though… Anyways, I love the name Poppy and Lolo.

  • Blythe

    I was the first grandkid on both sides so all of the crazy names are my fault. My maternal grandparents are Gigi and Papa – both kind of normal. And my paternal grandparents are Baga Chick and Papa Cake. NO IDEA where baby Blythe got those, but they stuck!

  • Bess

    My great grandmother became Granny when my mom was born, because it was her first grandchild and she was only 40! So it sounded silly for her to be a grandmother at all, so they gave her the old lady-est grandma name they could think of. Then, when my brother was born, they tried to get him to call my mom’s parents Grandma Betsy and Poppa. Poppa stuck, but my grandma is Geegee, all he could get out! My dad’s mother passed away before either my brother or I were born, but she was Granny Bess (where I got my name, so I’m a fan of you giving Arlo a family name!), and my dad’s dad was PawPaw (story unknown to me because my grandpa was already a grandfather before my dad was born, so he doesn’t know the reasons either!)

All Rights Reserved © Studio DIY 2017 - Site by Jane Reaction & Alchemy + Aim

CLOSE
CLOSE
BACK TO TOP