When my younger sister was pregnant with her first child, I recall my mom and dad letting us know that they would like to be called Nona and Nono. These grandparental names come from the Italian but they are used in the region of Colombia that my dad grew up in. So, there you had it. Nona and Nono were born. Heritage speaks to many when they become parents and grandparents.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was excited to start calling my dad Nono, or Nonito. We didn’t know what we were going to call my husband’s parents. Grandma? Grammy? Gram? What about my father-in-law? Would he be Gramps? Nobody could settle on a new title. So many to chose from.

Then, my little girl was born, started growing and speaking, calling everyone she thought to be old enough to have grandchildren, Nona and Nono. So, my mother in law started responding to Nona. My father-in-law went by Grandpa, but, again, it was never settled.

Then, my beautiful little boy was born, and once he started babbling away, he started calling my father-in-law “Bopa”, probably his way of saying “Grampa”. My sisters and I used to call my maternal grandfather “Bapa” as well (the different spelling is just for ease of use in email with my family), so this new title for my father-in-law is sweet sounding. However, it still hasn’t quite stuck. “Grandpa” still gets used when referring to my father-in-law, and some insist my son is saying, “Papa”.

I wonder, does my father-in-law think it sounds old fashioned to call him “Grandpa”, like I’ve heard happens to some grandparents? I asked him about using “Bopa” and he said he liked it. Do I keep pushing for a straight answer?

I’m so eager to settle on names for all the grandparents. I don’t know why—it just feels like it should be settled by now. What’s my rush? I really can’t figure it out. I so badly want “Bopa” to be used by everyone, but I’m going to have to be okay with calling him something else. I just can’t bring myself to use “Grandpa”. Could it be my desire to have different names for the kids’ grandparents, not common in the U.S.? I hope that this name switching comes to an end before I find an answer to my personal thoughts.

I do refer to my in-laws by the names my kids use for them. My mom is Nona or Nonita, my dad is Nonito, my mother-in-law is Nona (and then we use her first name to differentiate her from the other Nona), and my father-in-law is Bopa. When will they decide their grandparental nicknames and stick to them? On the other hand, I have no idea what feelings becoming a grandparent conjure, good or bad. I probably just need to step back and go with the flow of things- be less concerned with this topic. Let’s try.

What do you and your kids call their grandparents? How long did it take to transition from being your mom and dad to these new names?

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