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Apparently 'Grandpa' just isn't good enough any more


Move over, Grandma - and make way for MayMay, Nina, Bella and G-Mom.

Pet names for grandparents are trending toward the modern and multicultural, according to parenting websites such as and

Apparently, traditional names such as Gramps and Gran can be confusing for children who have more grandparents than they can count. The Gurgle survey of 1,000 British moms found that 28 per cent of children have five or more grandparents due to blended families. No wonder parents are getting creative with nicknames to help kids tell them apart.

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There's Gogo (for grandma Goldie Hawn) and Gaga (not inspired by you-know-who, one hopes). Other popular choices include NaiNai (Chinese), Lola (Filipino) and Nonna (Italian), which is either a sign of cultural appropriation or a reflection of our increasingly eclectic ethnic makeup.

In the United States, Grandma and Grandpa are still the runaway favourites, but they don't cut it for GlamMas convinced that 60 is the new 40. The Forever Young crowd prefer a first-name basis or a cool moniker made up by the grandkids. Names like Granny and Gramps "give off a vision of being old," explains grandfather John Dawson in The New York Times.

After all, why go with Nana and Papa when you can pick a name with personality? Time for a copy of The New Grandparents Name Book, a Lighthearted Guide to Picking the Perfect Grandparent Name.

Online, there's a 20-question grandmother name quiz. If you like taking the kidlets to art galleries and feeding them organic salads, you're a candidate for a "modern" grandmother name such as Bebe.

And according to the grandfather name quiz, guys who fix leaky bike tires and walk around with pockets full of loose change are better off with an old-fashioned name such as Paw-Paw. (Paw-Paw?)

Before long, good ol' Grandma and Grandpa will sound retro chic.

Would you want a grandchild to call you GiGi or G-Daddy? What do your kids call their grandparents?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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