Who’s the granny? Don’t look at me – I’m in denial
This is the one you’ve been waiting for… It gives me 99.999% pleasure and 0.001% pain to reveal that my son Mark and his wife Caitlin are expecting their first baby.
Due in September, Bud, as my son dubbed his offspring from the first positive indications, will be my grandchild, making me a g… g…
No, I still can’t bring myself to use the g-word. And this is where one-thousandth of me is having trouble.
Already, I love Bud more than I can say. But the dilemma is, what will Bud call me?
It has been pointed out to me that small people tend to call you exactly what they like as they burble their way into the English language.
Our daughter, aged one, pronounced our cat, Becky, as “Deedah” and never looked back.
Mark and Caitlin, who has a comfortable bump, keep asking me if I’ve had any ideas yet. Cruel friends have been calling me nannylin, like some moisturising substance harvested from the wool of goats.
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The classic choices are nana, nanny, nan, gran, granny and grandma. The latter seems to be most preferred.
Whatever I’m called, it will be wonderful to be someone special in Bud’s life. (NB: The baby will have a name, naturally, but we have a feeling Bud will stick).
My friend Jane’s mum and dad were dubbed gummy and grampy by their grandkids.
At grandparents.about.com there is a page devoted to choosing your grandmother name and as well as listing traditional ones such as big mom, gram, gramma, grammy, ma – plus baby-gurgle versions such as mawmaw and memaw – there are also modern suggestions including bebe, gigi, g-mom, honey, lovey and mimi.
It doesn’t get any better, does it?
Big mom sounds like the head of a Chicago crime syndicate, mawmaw a bit like a militant African nationalist movement. Memaw – an approaching fire engine; g-mom – a grandmother who wears skimpy knickers; mimi – knock three times and ask for Mimi.
On the rather scarily named Circle of Moms website (American, I’m guessing), there is a query from someone looking for a different grandmother name and the responses include Moo and one woman reveals her son calls her “mom” Banana.
Banana. Okay. So I take a deep breath and looked elsewhere.
“My grandchildren call me Nana and I love it,” writes one happy nana.
Am I being a tad curmudgeonly?
Should I just give my unaccustomed sunny smile (I’m practising) and say “call me gran”? Not on your nelly. Miss Mortimer to you, Bud.
This may be the right time to tell you I didn’t change my name when I got married… not that I was ever going to change Lynne to wifie, but I didn’t change my surname either.
In the interests of equality, my husband didn’t change his surname either.
Despite my small quirks, I love my fairly traditional British lifestyle – tea poured into china cups; crisp white linen sheets; foxgloves and hollyhocks; Wimbledon; the crack of leather on willow; milk bottles on the door step; morning papers on doormat (note to paperboy, please don’t knock on our front door before 10am on Sundays. I realise the Sunday papers are bulky but if you divide them up, they’ll go through the letterbox).
But, I like to think I have a small, almost undetectable maverick streak (not in the office, please, Lynne. Ed) that just pops up from time to time. In this case, it’s not wanting to be called the g-word or any derivation of it.
My grandchild will understand because, hopefully, Bud will inherit the Lynne-gene through the paternal side along with all the other wonderful genes contributed by mum and dad and, vicariously by four grandparents and an assortment of great-grandparents.
Until June, I had managed not to buy a single baby item but now I’ve started I can’t stop. I couldn’t believe what was out there. Ugg boots for babies.
In one store I was handed a crumpled square of patterned muslin and asked to feel how soft it was. What was it for? Not a clue but I made a mental note. I think I have some muslin nappies left over from when my grandchild’s father was a baby.
Gone are the days when you could judge a person by the nappies hanging out on their linen line. You can tell little from a Huggie.
Right. Where was I? Ah, here’s banananana.com which asks: “Have you decided what your grandkids will call you? Or are you struggling with selecting your ‘Groovy Grandma’ name?”
I confess I struggle with the idea that someone still uses the word “groovy” without irony. Among this bank of endearments we have gaga, gammy, ganky, ging-gong, muzzy, doodles and some that indicate defining traits such as nanny horsie or granny choo choo. I imagine the first has a horse, rather than looks like one and the second arrives by train, rather than having an unfortunate problem with flatulence.
At grandparents.com you will find The Ultimate Guide to Grandparent Names which are divided into “trendy”, “playful”, “traditional” and “international”. Playful names? Biggiema, mommo, mambo. I don’t think so.
It’s hard to believe that at this stage in my life, I find myself looking at a website called bellybelly.com but this is how desperate I am. Here, an article exposes an underlying desire to be groovy.
Site creator Kelly Winder writes: “The main reason we have such diversity in grandparents’ names is because grandparents just want to be unique or trendy!”
She goes on to say grandparents felt “they didn’t want to sound like a stereotypical grandparent who led a quiet life. They still wanted to sound young, active and fun.”
Maybe... but I still want to be a grandparent who can scoop up and cuddle baby Bud, read Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl, and bake gingerbread men.
So what shall I be? The nation decides. I would be genuinely grateful for any ideas.