What to call grandparents... thier choice or ours? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The situation is this:  my husband and I are about to have the first grandchild on both sides of our family, our parents are divorced on both sides, and three of them are remarried. In particular, it is really important to me that my mom be called 'Nanny', however, my husband's father wants his wife (my husband's step-mother) to be called Nanny. He doesn't seem to think that it matters if they are both called the same thing, but I disagree, mostly because I don't like this woman and don't want her to be as close to my children as my mother. Also, she already has 2 grandchildren of her own that can call her Nanny. I would prefer to have her called by her name with a prefix like nana. Am I being unreasonable? My husband doesn't like her either and will support me if I push for this, but doesn't think it's such a big deal.

In general, who's choice should it be what grandparents are called?

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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Not a hill to die on.  Honestly, the kids will probably end up calling them what the others do, tho one set in my family uses a different name.  Pick a sweet and special name for each set.....btw, you could be down south and call them meemaw and peepaw......

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jksmith View Post

The situation is this:  my husband and I are about to have the first grandchild on both sides of our family, our parents are divorced on both sides, and three of them are remarried. In particular, it is really important to me that my mom be called 'Nanny', however, my husband's father wants his wife (my husband's step-mother) to be called Nanny. He doesn't seem to think that it matters if they are both called the same thing, but I disagree, mostly because I don't like this woman and don't want her to be as close to my children as my mother. Also, she already has 2 grandchildren of her own that can call her Nanny. I would prefer to have her called by her name with a prefix like nana. Am I being unreasonable? My husband doesn't like her either and will support me if I push for this, but doesn't think it's such a big deal.

In general, who's choice should it be what grandparents are called?


I think you're overthinking this part of it.  Your child(ren) will be closest to the relatives they spend the most time with, and when they get older, who they connect with best - some of which we control, and some of which we don't.  What they call people doesn't generally have much to do with how they feel about that person, yk?

 

I think I would let it go for now, and see how things develop after the baby is born - calling 2 people the same name isn't going to make them equally important in your child's life, just like giving them different names won't make your child closer to one and not the other - that is going to be more dependent on who is more involved in their lives.

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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Honestly, I think you're unreasonable, and I'm a little bothered by you're saying the reason is because you want to decide who your kids are closest to, something that isn't decided by a name anyway.  Your kids will come up with whatever they want to call them anyway.

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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Well... to answer your original question, in my family, everyone decides for themselves. As I say, it's between you and the baby. I have aunts/uncles that range from the 60's to the 40's and some want to be called 'grandma X' and some want to be Aunt X. Whatever.

 

The only one that bothers me is my mom's mom who wants to be called grandma. which is fine... but she doesn't want my mom to be called grandma, and she doesn't seem to remember that DS knows me as mom either. but she's old.


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Old 11-17-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Not a big deal...and honestly, "I don't like this woman and don't want her to be as close to my children as my mother"...that's just petty. If she's not a likable person, as it seems, your children won't be as close to her anyway. What they call her will have nothing to do with their relationship to her. 

 

Also, the previous poster brought up a good point...if she already has children calling her Nanny, it's likely that your kids would use it anyway. 


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Old 11-17-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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I think it's always the person being addressed that should choose what to be called, and this would apply to grandparents as well.  Like a PP said, I think you're over thinking this.  I really don't think it will matter if they are both called Nanny, and it certainly won't effect how close they are to one grandparent or the other.

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Old 11-17-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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My ILs had their "grandparent names" picked out for themselves before DS was even born. The names they chose are...nontraditional...to say the least, and not used in either of our families otherwise. But we do our best to refer to them by those names around the little ones, and we encourage our toddler to call them that.

But.

Right now he calls them two entirely different names that have nothing to do with the names they picked out. I gently remind him of their "real" grandparent names but don't push it, because in the end I think grandparents end up being called what the grandkids decide to call them. On the one hand, the person being addressed should have some say over what they're called. On the other hand, most people are so excited to be directly addressed by name--any name--by their grandchildren for the first time that they put up with being called things like "Pop Pop" and "Nanners". lol.gif

The kid isn't even born yet, right? You have plenty of time to figure this out. And I know it seems like a huge deal now (and believe me, it felt like a huge deal to me when my MIL chose her "grandparent name", which sounds VERY similar to "Mama"--took me a while to get over that). But in the end your children will call the grandparents what they want to call them, and I doubt you'll have much control over it anyway, at least not until they're a bit older and can understand the concept of proper/formal names.

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Old 11-17-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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We've (my parents when we were kids, and my siblings and I as parents) always chose what to call the grandparents...but none of the grandparents involved ever stated a particular preference. If they had, we'd have gone by it. In your case, I'd probably end up calling both of them "Nanny firstname", just so it was more clear who I was talking about. All my kids grandparents (through my parents divorce and my divorce and remarriage, ds1 has seven, and the other three have five) are "Grandma/Grandpa firstname". If any of the grandparents expressed a preference for some other name, we'd go with it. I know my sister's kids call their dad's dad "Opa", and I think that was passed down on her ex-dh's side.


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Old 11-17-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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I have to agree with the other ladies. A name does not a close relationship make - I'd let it go.

 

In my own family, we called both of my grandmothers the same name, and our relationships with each were very different, largely because of the different nature of the relationships between them and our parents.

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Old 11-17-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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My mom re-partnered with someone right after DS was born.  It was not a pairing we were happy about.  (not happy about my mom's actions, the man was perfectly fine)

 

DH and I tried, tried, tried and tried again to teach DS to call him Name-Pa as I did not want DS calling him Pappy. 

 

In the end, DS resisted all Name-Pa efforts and started with Pappy all on his own.

 

Now we are so thankfully that this Pappy in our DS's life and I am so glad I didn't make a big deal out of it, continuing to constantly correct DS would have sent bad signals.

 

My point being, I 100% agree the child will know on their own which is wonderful, close grandparent relationship and will also pick their own name for the grandparent.


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Old 11-17-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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Sounds petty to me. Lots and lots of kids call both of their grandmothers "grandma," and they don't have any trouble making the distinction. And of course the closeness of the relationship has nothing to do with the name you use. Why would it bother you if your kids were as close with your SMIL as they are with your mom? It doesn't take anything away from your mom for your kids to have other loving people in their lives. 


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Old 11-17-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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It never even occurred to me to make a choice like this for someone else. To me, the person bearing the name gets to choose it. DS's grandparents all chose what they wanted to be called (my mom chose a very silly, non-traditional name because she wanted to be unique, the others chose traditional names). I thought it was nice that my mom asked if I was OK with her name choice (probably since it was an usual choice) but I wouldn't have minded at all if she hadn't asked my opinion -- it's her name.


Also, I think it would be weird for some of your grandkids to call you by one name, and others call you by another.

 

That being said, what about Nanny Firstname as an option?


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Old 11-17-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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My mom very much wanted to be called "Grammy." However, my dd (the first grandchild) started calling her "Ma." I think it was because they were close, and dd viewed her as a mama-figure. My mom LOVED it, and is now "Ma" to all 4 of her grandchildren. Names aren't nearly such a big deal after relationships are formed. That's what I've found anyway. shrug.gif

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Old 11-17-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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I think it should be up to the grandparents as to what they want to be called.  Unless they want "Mommy" or "Nana SexyPants" or something then I would have an opinion, but otherwise let it go.  It isn't worth the drama.  Really and truly. 

 

You could always call the step-grandma Nanny FirstName and leave just Nanny for your mom.  But ignoring her wishes isn't going to help anyone's relationship with anyone.


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Old 11-17-2010, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post

Sounds petty to me. Lots and lots of kids call both of their grandmothers "grandma," and they don't have any trouble making the distinction. And of course the closeness of the relationship has nothing to do with the name you use. Why would it bother you if your kids were as close with your SMIL as they are with your mom? It doesn't take anything away from your mom for your kids to have other loving people in their lives. 


It would bother me because she is a manipulative and gossipy woman who has strong religious beliefs that my husband and I disagree with. 

 

 

Many of you have suggested 'Nanny first name' for her, and I would like to propose 'Nana first name' to them but I haven't discussed it with them yet. It's just that my father-in-law is already signing cards and e-mails with his chosen names, after my husband tried to politely mention my feelings on the matter a few months ago. Especially since he just sent us some money for the baby and signed it that way, I feel like I'm almost being bribed. I don't really understand why he's pushing it so much already, the other grandparents have hardly mentioned it.

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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It would bother me because she is a manipulative and gossipy woman who has strong religious beliefs that my husband and I disagree with. 


I know you were responding to something someone else said when you said this, but I'll throw in my two bits. My mom's mom was a manipulative, toxic person (I've called her evil in the past, and I wasn't kidding - she did a lot of damage to a lot of people in my family). She was also the one I called "grandma". I hated her guts, and when my mom called me and told me she'd died, my only emotional reaction was relief. I can understand not wanting your child to be close to someone like this...but "Nanny" or "Nana" isn't going to make any difference.

 

My Nana is currently lying in a hospital bed at 92 years of age, and will probably not live much longer, and I'm crying just thinking that. She is/was a wonderful grandmother and I'm going to miss her like heck when she dies (which I honestly hope won't be that much longer, for her sake - she truly doesn't want to be here, anymore). Calling her "Nana" didn't create distance, any more than calling mom's mother "grandma" created closeness.


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Old 11-17-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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It would bother me because she is a manipulative and gossipy woman who has strong religious beliefs that my husband and I disagree with. 

 

 

Many of you have suggested 'Nanny first name' for her, and I would like to propose 'Nana first name' to them but I haven't discussed it with them yet. It's just that my father-in-law is already signing cards and e-mails with his chosen names, after my husband tried to politely mention my feelings on the matter a few months ago. Especially since he just sent us some money for the baby and signed it that way, I feel like I'm almost being bribed. I don't really understand why he's pushing it so much already, the other grandparents have hardly mentioned it.



So, rather than let it go, you're going to give her something to be manipulative and gossipy about?  I really don't get it.  I think you may want to just sit back, and let things happen they way they do.  Pregnancy had me upset about all kids of things - most of which turned out to be just my emotions playing tricks on me.

 

And really, her religious beliefs have nothing to do with this.  LOTS of people have religious beliefs that I disagree with - pretty much everyone who has religious beliefs actually - and I have good relationships with some, so-so relationships with others, and bad relationships with still more.  That definitely needs to be left out of the equation. 

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Old 11-17-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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It's between the call-ee and the principal caller, surely? I happen to hate "Nanny", but MIL wanted to be called that, so... not my business. We ended up with two Grandpas, one Gran, one Nanny, and a Grandma (great-grandmother), Papa Firstname (step-great-grandfather), and a "Gee-Gee", which I REALLY hate, but again, not my decision. I'd be a bit miffed if someone insisted on calling me a name I didn't like, so why would I make someone go by Grandma when she preferred Nanny?


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Old 11-18-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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First of all, I think it is perfectly understandable that you do not want to foster a close relationship with a woman you consider toxic-if she was anybody but a grandmother, I think you would be encouraged to cut ties with her.  However, since that is not possible, I agree just go with Nanny "Firstname" and tell her it is to differentiate between her and your mom.  I assume she won't be around your mom all that often so it won't be that obvious if you drop the "firstname" part for your mom.


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Old 11-18-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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I do understand and I think it's easy to criticise if you aren't in the family.  I think you have to come up with a compromise on this one.

 

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First of all, I think it is perfectly understandable that you do not want to foster a close relationship with a woman you consider toxic-if she was anybody but a grandmother, I think you would be encouraged to cut ties with her.  However, since that is not possible, I agree just go with Nanny "Firstname" and tell her it is to differentiate between her and your mom.  I assume she won't be around your mom all that often so it won't be that obvious if you drop the "firstname" part for your mom.



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Old 11-18-2010, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your posts. It's definitely given me some perspective in the issue. I've decided to just let it go for now, I figure the hormones at 8 1/2 months pregnant probably aren't helping me think clearly about this and I should just wait and rethink it later.

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Old 11-18-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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First of all, I think it is perfectly understandable that you do not want to foster a close relationship with a woman you consider toxic-if she was anybody but a grandmother, I think you would be encouraged to cut ties with her.



I'd encourage her to cut ties, anyway. There's no benefit to being around toxic people, just because they happen to be relatives. I assumed that OP and her dh don't want to cut ties with his father, and it's very difficult to cut ties with only one half of a married couple, especially within extended family.


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Old 11-18-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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My mom's mom was a manipulative, toxic person (I've called her evil in the past, and I wasn't kidding - she did a lot of damage to a lot of people in my family). She was also the one I called "grandma". I hated her guts, and when my mom called me and told me she'd died, my only emotional reaction was relief. I can understand not wanting your child to be close to someone like this...but "Nanny" or "Nana" isn't going to make any difference. Calling her "Nana" didn't create distance, any more than calling mom's mother "grandma" created closeness.


This was my experience, too (evil grandma called "grandma") and I totally agree, the name did not make a bad person any dearer in my heart and her being called that did not mask any of the grandchildren's understanding of who she was. And my mother is now Grandma to DD and if anything, I thought having her mother called "grandma" would make her want to choose something else to be called by, but she chose Grandma. I would also go with Nanny Firstname to differentiate.
 


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