Welcome to Island GRAND

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Looking for a name more creative than Grandma or Grandpa? Then pick up a copy of Georgia Witkin’s The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook and look no further.

Along with the standard grandparent name variations—Nana, Papa, Granny and Pop—Witkin lists over 250 alternatives, dividing them by gender into three categories: Traditional, Trendy and Playful.

Not keen on Granny? How about Gitchie, Gadget or Jamagramma? Pops not quite playful enough? What about UmPaPa, G-Dude or Faux Pa?

According to a poll at Grandparents.com, 64 per cent of those surveyed agreed that, yes, traditional names are too formal; 23 per cent “had to” choose a flashy new grandparent name because the traditional ones were already taken; and 13 per cent answered “Why reinvent the wheel? A name is a name.”

The same survey asked participants if they like their grandparent name: 44 per cent said “Yes. My grandchild chose it,” 43 per cent said “Yes. I chose it myself,” nine per cent said “Yes. Even though someone else chose it,” four per cent said “Not really, but I’ll live with it,” and one per cent said “Not at all.”

One reason some grandparents might not like names such as Grandpop or Granny is because they can conjure up “gray hair and orthopedic shoes,” writes columnist Paula Span in Generation Grandparent for The New York Times. We too often won’t use hearing aids, even if we need them, she argues. And we may not claim the senior discount at the movie theatre. So it stands to reason that “We don’t want these wonderous new creatures calling us names that signify old age either.”

In this day and age, when children often have more than two sets of grandparents and all the good names might already be gone, it’s wise to have a few back-ups in mind. But don’t get too attached to your chosen name. Chances are, your new grandbaby will add a slight twist of his or her own. Be prepared for an array of deviations such as Gander, Dinghy, Dud Dud and PooPaw.

No matter what name you’ve chosen—or how your grandchildren pronounce it—we hope this issue of Island Grandparent adds to your stores of hard-won wisdom. You’ll find articles on everything from celebrating family heritage, the gift of grandchildren, and an old man’s advice on communication, to natural sun safety and outdoor skin care for kids, building a love of reading, and 10 things to do on the Island with the grandkids.

Just like the time you spend with your grandchildren, we hope you enjoy every minute—and every page—of Island Grandparent.

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