039 BRAD

Unusual names for grandparents

Why can’t we choose unusual names?

By Jocelyn Watts

“Mimoo? Serves you right,” said Great-Grandma as she peered over her glasses in her familiar school ma’am look of disapproval.

Serves me right? Bollocks. How many other grandmothers are known as Mimoo? Not many, I suspect, and that’s the way I like it.

Aside from Mimoo being easy for kids to say, the name has a certain ring to it that raises eyebrows and starts conversations. 

Today it seems I’m on trend. Seems it’s cool for parents to create new names for their newborns, so why can’t we of the ‘sandwich generation’ create new grandparent names for ourselves?

People are living longer and mixed families are more common so it’s becoming normal for children to have multiple nannies, nannas, grandmas, grandpas, granddads and grandpops. That must be so confusing for littlies.

I had just four living grandparents – two maternal and two paternal. They were Granny and Grandpop, Nanna and Granddad.  My three children also had four – Grandma and Grandpa, Nanny and Granddad.

The previous generation had all died in their 70s before my children were born. My grandchildren, however, have many family members happily kicking on through their 80s.

There’s Great-Grandma, Great-Nanny, Great-Granddad, Great-Poppy and two Great-Nannas plus the Grand generation of Nanna and Poppy, and me. Granddad was still alive when our first two grandkids were born.

While waiting for the birth of her first bub (the first grandchild on both sides), my daughter asked me what I’d like to be called.

I loved my Granny dearly but I wasn’t old enough to be a Granny! Nanna or Nanny somehow sounded younger and softer but with so many of those names already in the family, I wanted something different and easy for the kids to identify me from the others. 

Google offered many options. Here are some:




Initially, I said, “Whatever the first grandchild calls me as he/she starts to talk, will be my name.” 

That left the field too wide open! What if the name was something like Bluegrass Tree, which my youngest son named one of his pet birds?

After much reflection I settled on Mimi, a Hebrew baby name meaning wished-for child or rebellion. But that wasn’t the reason I chose Mimi. I simply thought it sounded good and didn’t relate to a specific age group.

However, when my daughter’s first-born uttered his first words, he spotted a photo of me, pointed, smiled and said: “Mimooooo!”

 “That’s it!” my daughter declared.

Like composted cow dung in a garden bed, my first grandchild’s chosen name has stuck and it’s serving me well! Thank you, Bradley.  

Do you have unusual grandparent names in your family? If so, please share. I’d love to know what other names are about.

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