I think what your kid calls Grandma is her business. If she wants to be called “grandma,” cool. If she wants to be called “Beth,” cool. She can even be called Beth if her name isn’t Beth as far as I’m concerned. Whatever works for different families is totally fine by me. I don’t find it odd at all when a child doesn’t call his grandma, “Grandma” – because I realize that whatever he calls the members of his family, he’s been taught to call them.
I mean, I know kids may veer off the path a little. My child called me “mom” when he was younger, which I always thought was weird because I always referred to myself as “mommy.” He calls his grandma “YaYa,” because we are Greek and that translates to Grandma.
I’m thinking about this because of a Babycenter poll that said almost half of parents want their children to refer to their grandparents as either “grandma” or “grandpa.” Some mentioned that it signified a special bond; there are tons of people you interact with, but only a very select few you can call Grandma or Grandpa. Some felt that calling a grandparent by anything but that label was disrespectful. To me, respect comes from how you treat someone – not by the name you call them.
Whatever Grandma wants to be called is okay by me. The same goes for moms and dads. My editor Eve Vawter says that when she has grandchildren, she will expect them to call her “Duchess.” I can totally get behind that. I never had grandparents I was close to. There is something about having different nicknames for grandparents, or even calling them by their first names that I think is touching. See, I’m touched by any kind of relationship at all – because I never had one. If I had a cool Grandma that wanted my to refer to her as “Queen,” I would have gladly done that.
If you have a kid that’s going rogue and calling Grandpa by his first name even though he hates it, that’s one thing. But if everyone agrees on a label, who cares what that label is? As long as there is a loving bond there – I wouldn’t care if my mom wanted to be called “Princess Sugarplum.” I would think it was totally weird, don’t get me wrong – but I would indulge her.
(photo: Getty Images)