Read this in the NYTimes. I mean… what is the world coming to?
Who Are You Calling Grandma?
By ALEXANDRA ZISSU
Published: May 11, 2011
LAST month, Gwyneth Paltrow, promoting her new cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter” (Grand Central Life & Style), on the television show “Chelsea Lately,” revealed that her mother, the actress Blythe Danner, wanted to be called Woof by her grandchildren, Apple and Moses. “My mom’s hot and she didn’t want to be called Grandma,” Ms. Paltrow said. “So she kept trying to make the Woof thing stick. It’s even her e-mail address.”
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images
Apple, in Gwyneth Paltrow’s arms in 2007, came up with the name Lalo for her grandmother, Blythe Danner, right, Ms. Danner said.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Goldie Hawn, who was named Glam-Ma.
Ms. Paltrow did not elaborate on the provenance of Woof, nor on her children’s actual nickname for Ms. Danner, Lalo. But another Hollywood grandmother, the actress Goldie Hawn, has written about her own reluctance to embrace the term in her best-selling memoir, “A Lotus Grows in the Mud” (Berkley Trade): “The wonderful day arrived; my grandson, Ryder Russell, burst forth into this world. I could barely contain myself. But was I really a ‘grandmother’?” Ms. Hawn wrote. (Or, as Shirley MacLaine howled in the 1983 movie “Terms of Endearment,” “Why should I be happy about being a grandmother?”)
It is, Ms. Hawn continued, a “word that had so many connotations of old age and decrepitude.”
“My son Oliver decided I should be called ‘Glam-Ma,’ which I thought was quite brilliant and made us all laugh so hard.”
The term has stuck. According to UrbanDictionary.com, “If 60 is the new 40 then GlamMa is the new Grandma, a woman with a sense of self and style.”
Resistant to being called anything that makes them sound old, baby-boomer grandparents have taken to accepting toddlers’ neologisms and ethnic variations or, better yet, naming themselves.
Mickey Sauls, 28, a sales coordinator for Ralph Lauren who lives in San Diego, is due to have her first baby in early June. Her parents’ names are already picked out. “My mother initiated the conversation,” Ms. Sauls said. “She has since changed her mind a few times.” For now the new grandmother, Irene Dawson, will be known as Nonna, a nod to her Maltese heritage. Initially Ms. Sauls’s father, John Dawson, wanted to be called by his first name, but he has now settled on Papa John (when he discovered the pizza chain Papa John’s recently, he texted his daughter a photo of “his personal logo”).
“My wife and I were somewhat serious about being called Irene and John,” Mr. Dawson said. “We like our names and that it’s real. Grandpa, Grandma, Granny, Nanna, Gramps, etc., give off a vision of being old.”
This is a common attitude, said Dana Points, the editor in chief of Parents magazine. “Today’s grandparents don’t feel like they look or act like the grandparents of a generation ago,” she said, “so there can be a weird disconnect with the official term.”
Grandparents seeking help finding just the right appellation can choose from trendy, playful, international or traditional options at Grandparents.com. They can also turn to “The New Grandparents Name Book, a Lighthearted Guide to Picking the Perfect Grandparent Name” (ArtStone Press). Written by the mother and daughter team Lin Wellford, 59, and Skye Pifer, 35, it offers 700 unstodgy options, like G-mom, Doodad, Popsi, Bubba and “Sonoma and Napa for a more sophisticated set.”
As someone “fun” and “still wearing jeans,” Ms. Wellford herself settled on “Mimi.” “It turns out most baby boomers I know felt the same way — love the idea, hate the name; we are such a herd,” she said. And Ms. Pifer approved. “She’s super-creative,” she said of her mother.
Freestyle naming has advantages in the modern world of divorced or otherwise fractured families. “Lots of kids have more than two sets of grandparents, so one reason to choose other names is to better distinguish them from one another,” Ms. Points said. Names can “defuse a situation that could be tense,” Ms. Wellford said. “No one wants to move in on grandmothering territory.”
Anna Crafton Walker, 36, a learning specialist who lives in Brooklyn, had four sets of grandparents to name — “no easy task,” she said. Her mom is now “Mamo,” which incorporates the nickname Mo, an abbreviation for Mother Crafton. Her dad is PawPaw, which he chose because it reminded him of his Kentucky grandfather, PooPoo, and the pawpaw tree he had growing in his backyard. Ms. Walker’s son, Wyatt, 2, also has a Nana, a Buya Buya, a PopPop, a Q, a Nonna and a Grandma Patty. (Phew.)
Note to grandparents: if your grandchild wants to rename you (Ms. Danner told Babycenter.com that it was young Apple who came up with Lalo), “you have to be kind of relaxed about it,” Ms. Wellford said. “Seeing yourself as a GlamMa helps you make that leap into grandparenting, through that psychic distance between ‘I’m too young’ and ‘Wow, I love this grandchild, what a great idea.’ ”
So it was Friday the 13th this Friday past, and guess what?
“At precisely 13:13, a boy aged 13 was seen by the St John Ambulance team at Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in Suffolk after he was struck by lightning, a spokesman said.
The boy suffered a minor burn and was taken to James Paget Hospital, where he is expected to make a full recovery.”
What are the odds?!
Only in the UK can these things happen. As barmy as they are (or in this case, as barmy as the things that happen to them are), you gotta love the Brits, I always say!
Read more, here.
Polkadot Monsters has welcomed another new writer:
She resides in Vancouver, Canada and loves Fashion, Photography, Reading and Singing in the shower.
Check out her first post HERE!
She was also featured on Stylo-Milo Sunday series HERE.
Hello everybody! It’s your resident monster editor popping in to say hi. *waves claws*
is about to hit its first month anniversary since its launch on 26th Feb ’10 and the Monsters Team would like to thank all of you for all your support and encouragement. The site has received thousands of visits since its launch and we, at the monster house are very heartened to see that people do care about what we write. So on behalf of the team, I’d like to say a big thank you. We will continue to work hard at posting up interesting and edible reads for you.
What’s new at Polkadot Monsters:
Since launching our new series page and welcoming a new monster writer Saz just last week, we’ve been getting great reviews on them. Some of you wrote in requesting a travel series, we hear you and have decided to start:
Why the name Travellers Anonymous? Because we’ve all been crazy travelling at one point or another in our lives and agree that travelling is thoroughly addictive. Hence, we’ve decided to start this travel series where we hope it will serve as some sort of “travel-deficiency therapy” by introducing travel stories from people everywhere.
First up for this travel series is
He grew up in Hongkong, went through international school and is now finishing up studying in London. However, he took a year off school to go backpacking in Europe for 3 months.
He has no concrete plans or bookings for anything, just him, his backpack and a general idea that he wants to keep travelling East from London. He’ll be blogging on his travels about once a week so stay tuned!
You can see his post here.
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