One of my neighbours’ kids call their grandma “Helen.”
“Helen watch me jump on the trampoline.”
“Helen do you want to play snap?”
“Helen can I have another cupcake, but don’t tell mum.”
When I first met her I wondered who she was, this “Helen” person who seemed to be a frequent visitor to their home. I figured she was a babysitter, a family friend, a distant relative.
But when I learnt it was actually their grandma I asked why they didn’t just call Helen “Grandma” or “Nan” or heck, even “Nona”, why Helen?
She thinks grandma makes her sound old my neighbour explained. So she’s always just been Helen to the kids.
“Helen” is one of a growing legion of grandparents who refuse to be known by the traditional grandparent names of “Grandma” and “Grandpa”.
Out is Pops, Pop, Gramps and Grandpop.
In is G-Pa, G-Pop, Grand-D and Pepe.
For Grannies just plain old Gran is now way too little-old-lady-with-knitting-needles instead we have Gogi, Glam-ma, Gummy, GeeMa, Godget, Foxy and Glammy.
It’s the new wave of grandparents who don’t quite see themselves as elderly enough to have earnt a traditional title and want something unique to just them.
No more Nana or Noni. No more Grandpappy or Pa. Instead we hear of Bunny and Doody and Tootsie and Doo-da.
That kid screaming at the park isn't demanding to go and see Gran and Grandad, they want Honey and Huggy. NOW.
Lin Wellford, author of The New Grandparents Name Book, told Love to Know that grandparents these days like names that aren’t too “stodgy"- like the couple she found in researching her book who went with the names “Rocky and Kitty.”
She said people becoming grandparents today seem to want to use names that reflect how they see themselves. “Most of my Boomer generation friends see themselves as youthful, so they are picking names that reflect that; Pop-pop, G-Ma, Nona, Bubba."
As you can imagine the trend to have a unique Grandparent name in Hollywood is as hot as Bikram yoga.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother Blythe Danner is reportedly called Wolf and Lalo by her grandchildren, Apple and Moses.