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Look Out Grandma and Grandpa, Pebbles and Napa Are Coming

June 05, 2009 07:05 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
What’s in a name? For many grandparents today, the titles “Grandma” and “Grandpa” aren’t cutting it anymore.

Gabadoo and Sharky?

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Baby boomers are growing into grandparenthood, but don’t try to saddle them with names like “grandma” and “grandpa.”

This group is different than grandparents past, The Boston Globe writes, enjoying their grandchildren’s video games, finding music they like and taking trips with the youngsters. Many are relishing their roles, but the one thing they don’t want to be considered is old.

Lin Wellford, who is a grandmother and co-author of “The New Grandparents Name Book,” said a moniker like “Grandma” conjures up images of “someone in an apron baking cookies, with grey hair.”  Because grandparents today are younger on average that past groups of grandparents, many want to have a name that reflects how young they feel.

Wellford’s book suggests several alternatives, including “Pebbles” and “Rocky,” or “GoGo” and “Ammo.”

According to Grandparents.com, Wellford said picking the right grandparent name is a big deal. “How many times in your life do you get to name yourself?” the site quoted her as saying.

Grandkids can play a big part in naming their grandparents, as pronouncing “grandma” or “grandpa” isn’t easy for some. Deana Barr told Grandparents.com that her grandson gave her the nickname “Gabadoo” when she asked him the question, “Who loves you?” He replied, “Gaba do!”

But for some people, tradition is just fine. Phyllis Nobel told The Boston Globe that being a grandparent is “a role in life.” She continued, “As far as I’m concerned, no matter how old I am or how old I was when they were born, they’re my grandchildren and I’m their grandmother. It’s a fact. Why mess around with it?”

Sometimes, though, new names are a matter of practicality as families split or experience multiple marriages. The Boston Globe cited one family whose boys had seven grandparents total, including step-grandparents, so names had to differ for clarity.

And for others, names just don’t matter. Harry Rosen said he wanted to be known as “Grand Dude” when his first grandson was born, but said he didn’t really care what name he had. “They can call me anything they want—as long as they call me!” he exclaimed.

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Related Topic: Grandparents and video games

In 2008, the video game industry was looking for a new audience since its number of young, male, diehard fans hadn’t increased in a generation. At the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles, publishers introduced games to entice sisters, mothers and even grandmothers to join in on the fun. Nintendo’s Wii was one device that significantly helped the company diversify its audience, and other companies were developing products designed to yield similar results.

Reference: Grandparent resources

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