A New Name for a Grand New You!
There aren’t many times in a life where you get to choose what your name will be. Becoming a grandparent is one of them. All of a sudden you get to figure out what the next generation of your family will call you for the rest of your life. It can be a pretty big deal. So, how do you go about picking your name? And who gets to pick the name in the first place?
What’s in a Name?
Often the grandparents pick their own grandparent name but that is not always the case. At times the parents of the child have a preference or claim veto powers over names that they don’t like. Keep in mind that the parents are caught between two sets of grandparents who may have competing interests. Having the parents involved in choosing a grandparent name can be helpful and prevent tension within their extended family. For those who are not good at choosing a name or do not have a preference, having the parent choose may be the best option.
Dubbed by the Grandbaby
Even better than parents at coming up with creative and unique grandparent names are the grandchildren. Especially in the tender years of imperfect pronunciation, your grandchildren may come up with the most cunning and adorable grandparent name you have ever heard. Some grandparents want to wait until the baby is born to decide on their name in hopes that the baby will name them. Of course, if this is route you choose, it is always good to have a base name until the baby can actually start pronouncing things. This both makes it less awkward for the parents when talking about you and gives you a name you can live with if not creative alternatives emerge. If you have a name chosen your perfect grandparent name, and in speaking it your grandchild transforms it into something not to your liking, you do not have to keep it. Gentle reminders of the correct pronunciation until may be needed until the grandbaby can grasp it. But who knows, the altered version of your perfect name may be even more perfect, especially spoken with glowing adoration by your new grandchild.
Choosing Your Own Name
If you want to take control of your own name, there are a few things to consider. The first thing to consider is your spouse. Working in collaboration with your spouse to come up with names that fit well together can be very important. It is easy for children and parents to get confused about which grandparent goes with which name, especially in modern day families with step-grandparents. Name pairings such as Grammy and Gramps, Lolli and Pop, and Cherry and Pip can help everyone in the family to keep the proper grouping of grandparents. Another consideration is the other grandparents. They too will have their preferences. Sometime adding an initial can keep clear two grandparents using the same grandparent name; Grandma G. and Grandma L. for example.
Tradition is a big part of choosing a name. Begin by thinking about the names of your grandparents. You may want to choose Gramps as your name because your father was called Gramps by your children, you called your grandfather Gramps, and your father called his grandfather Gramps. On the other hand, you may decide that three Gramps was enough, and you would rather be called Bebop. There is nothing wrong with breaking tradition in favor of a name that you feels better suits you. You may want to have the family practice the name so that it will sound natural. However, there is always the chance that in the excitement of a new baby, everyone, including yourself, will completely forget the well-practiced name and switch to the traditional name. If a grandmother wants to be called Nana as according to the tradition in her family, it would be bad form for the other grandmother to insist that she be called Nana (unless she goes for Nana B. or the like). There are plenty of names to go around, and an acceptable compromise should be easy enough to reach.
There should be no cause for a grandparently scuffle over names. Tradition can take precedence, if applicable, but otherwise it is first-come, first-serve. There are hundreds of possible names already out there, not to mention all of the different variations you could get from your birth name or a nickname you already have. You may also want to consider honoring your heritage and your grandchild’s heritage by choosing a name from a different language. For example, if your family is very Irish, you could choose to be Daideó instead of Grandpa or Maimeó instead of Grandma. You may also choose a name from a different language just because you like the way it sounds. You don’t need to be German to want to be Oma and Opa. If you are asked about your name and you are not of that heritage, you can just say that you liked how it sounds.
One Last Thing
For grandfathers with secret long-term plans to scare young men who will eventually date their granddaughter, you may not want to be called Pop Pop or BooBoo. Remember that this new name will be with you for the rest of your life. Even with the trendiness of “unique” names, good old grandma and grandpa still top the charts as the most popular names. While name selection can be exciting and fun, it does not need to be a stress moment. Find a name that is comfortable and turn back to what is really exciting, being with your grandchild. What’s in a name compared to that?