Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Nanas and the Papas

George, Olive Mapstone, Mum and Dad, June and Milton Coffin

I almost envy friends from ethnic backgrounds who had Nonnas, Nonnis, Opas and Omas etc. It sounds so cultural, almost romantic.

I don't know why but my parents chose Nana and Papa as the title for my grandparents and great grandparents. For which I still hold a fondness for that title.

In my own situation there are only a few grandparents for which my inlaws were already Nan and Pop so we went along with those titles. My side are Granddad for my father and grandma for my now deceased Grandmother (my mum never had the chance to get a title)

We did have a curious situation in our family as for a little kid there was a lot of confusion with so many grandparents and great grandparents. My parents chose an interesting way to make it clear who was who.

My parents chose to link the grandparents with their pets to make it easy, so this was the situation

on mums side
her parents Milton and June Coffin (I will blog more about the names)
( just imagine calling your grandmother Nana Coffin)
their dogs were called Taffy (welsh corgi)

so they were Taffy Nana and Papa

my grandmothers Mum and Dad- Eliza(beth) and George Bailey

they had a bird called Georgie

so they became Georgie Nana and Papa

on Dads side, his parents George and Olive Mapstone

they originally had a dog called Peppie, then later a dog called Dinkie

so they were orinally Peppie Nana and Papa then later Dinkie Nana and Papa

my grandfathers Mum Elizabeth was only ever known by us as Gran

So how do you as a parent choose the title of your childrens grandparents? Are you still formal or do you just use names etc? i'd be interested to know.


  1. Expecting our first, this topic has come up among ourselves and our parents.

    My Nan was a beautiful woman, and my Pop was a great man. So my Mum will be Nan, and my Dad will be Pop. My mum and dad are separated and I am not sure what to call her husband. He is called Ed, so perhaps he could be Ed Pop.

    Wifey's parents are know as Grandma and Granddad by their grandkids already, so it makes sense to maintain that.

    My Pop was great grandfather to my cousin's children. Their dad (my uncle) was Pop, and their Great Grandfather was called Old Pop.

  2. I had an Oma and Opa and my dad is an Opa and I am sure I will be an Oma if the time comes one day.

    My husband's grandfather was the best. His name was Mervyn Henry, but for reasons unknown everybody called him Pat. When my husband was small he called him Fred. So he was Fred or Freddy to all the immediate family from then on, but still Pat to his wife and mates.

  3. We didn't have do many grandparents with our kids, or even with myself. my husband had none. but when I was growing up we did have honarary grandparents and lots of them.
    So we identified them through their hobby or surname - we had tennis nanna and grandpa, and MY nanna was known as nanna (surname ) when my kids came along, the grandparents were ALL nannas and grandpa's we we just tacked the surname on the end. This method has worked well for 2 generations. We didn't have the privilege of Opa and Oma, or Nonni and Nonna, but my children have been taught all about their nannas and grandpas - no matter what the language ;)

  4. We had Nana & Grandpa for both sets of my parents parents and used last names to differentiate. My husband had a Nana & Pa and Nana & Gramps so they were Gramps' nana & Pa's nana to him. With my children we went with Nana & Grampa on my side and Nana & Gramps on my husbands. Then of course we got extra grandparents so my daughter has a Poppy & Ker-Ker (Poppy is a variation on Pop which is a term his children use for him instead of dad and Ker-ker is a variation of first name). Grandmother on the other side is known by her first name, never met grandfather on that side so no title. My son hasn't met grandparents so again no titles but we'll sort that out if he ever meets them :) My kids also have borrowed some grandparents since we live so far from all of theirs, they are Nan & Pop. Now if you're confused and given up counting I'm not surprised... it's hard to keep track of all the relatives we've inherited with my children :) So while, like you, I'd love to have had an Oma/Opa or Nonna/Nonno I'm sort of glad we don't :)

  5. Our kids know their grandparents on both sides by their first names. I've never known my grandparents and my partner had always called her grandparents on one side by their first name - and often her parents by first name as well. It felt very strange to contemplating suddenly starting to call someone something different just because there was a new child around . Other branches of the family are reverting to the nanna, pop etc

  6. My parents are known as Nan and Pop.
    My husbands side is more confusing. He still has one set of grandparents who are called Gran and Grandpa.
    My eldest son is not my husbands biological child, so when we met my inlaws he was introduced to them as "Margie and Frank" and that is what he's always called them. Two more grandkids have been born and they are insisting on being called "Margie and Frank" as that is what my eldest calls them. Not a fan of this situation, but I feel its sticking.