Recently I got this cute email question from Premium member Kathy from Northridge, CA: “I am curious as to how you got your Grandma name of “Sha-Sha.” In my family both my grandmothers had special names. My maternal grandmother’s name was Marian. She had a cat named Kitty Mit. According to family lore my grandmother would always say to my oldest cousin, “You’re my little Kitty mitty,” and my cousin ended up calling her “Minnie” because of that. My paternal grandmother had the initials MD (she too was a Marion). Her friends gave her the nickname of Doc so my brother and I called her Grandma Doc.
I only had one grandfather (my paternal grandfather died at 59 when my dad was 17) so he just got the name Grandpa. Now when my nephew was a toddler he started out by identifying my parents as Big Grandma and Little Grandma. He didn’t quite get the gender reference straight. My father was 6-4 feet tall; hence he was “big” and my mom was 5 foot 3 so she was “little.” Now my nephew is a father himself and my great-nephew calls his grandmas “LaLa (whose name is Linda) and YaYa (whose name is Cathy..and no we are not Greek!). We don’t know how he came up with those names but they are stuck with them! LOL The Grandpas are Papa Ted & Mike.”
Well, since you asked….Davy started calling me Sha Sha as soon as he learned to talk, and like so many grandparent names, it stuck. (I fully admit I was SO anxious for him to call me anything that I took the first name he offered.) Now if anyone tries to refer to me as Grandma he scowls at them and asks why in the world they are calling me some foreign name.
I discussed this on the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 118, and on the next Episode #119 I shared lots of wonderful stories from listeners about their terms of endearment. Kathy’s is right up there in being adorable! I LOVE Big Grandma and Little Grandma. Kids know what they see!
Kathy’s question got me Googling, of course. Guess what I found? The Ultimate Guide to Grandparent Names. This free webpage lists out common traditional and trendy nicknames for both grandmothers and grandfathers. You’ll also find a list of grandparent nicknames from other languages, too (I see that “Ya-Ya” is a Greek nickname for grandmother, as Kathy said).
Share this message with your favorite or fellow grandparent!