Monday, January 21, 2008


Grandparents are often called funny names. That's because they receive these names from their grandchildren. My husband's mother, who was only in her mid-forties when our first child was born, made it clear that she preferred being called "Grandmother." None of this Granny or Grammy stuff. Just plain, dignified Grandmother. Alas, it was not to be. Unable to pronounce Grandmother, our toddler named her Maw Maw. And, of course, the other five grandchildren followed suit.

I have no hang-ups about being called Granny. It's what I want. I called my own grandmother Granny, and my children called my mother Granny. So far my only grandchild has not been able to say Granny. Until recently, he's been saying GaGa. Not exactly catchy, but I figured it was only a small twist of the tongue away from Granny.

Last week my daughter called me. Barely containing her laughter, she asked me to hold on a moment. I could hear her saying to my grandchild, "Say hi to Granny."

"Gigi," he chirped into the telephone. "Gigi."

He had been saying it all afternoon, obviously referring to me.

Gigi? Gigi??

I'm trying to be open-minded. Maybe my immediate assumptions and reactions to the name were wrong, I googled Gigi. Here are some of the words and phrases associated with Gigi:

burlesque; Italian restaurant; bar; movie (1958); fitness center; acoustic rock artist; pet boutique; merry-go-round horse; designer belts for babies; bikini wax; prom dresses; French poodle. Don't exactly remind you of me, do they?

I don't know whether I'll have to get used to it or not. He was still saying Gigi today, but Granny could be just around the corner (hobbling along with her cane, of course).

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