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to be upset by my sMiL wanting her name changed....

(46 Posts)
MrsAMerrick Thu 21-Nov-13 21:54:47

My DH's parents split up when he was at uni, and both remarried. This all happened before I knew him or them. When we had DS1, he effectively had 6 GPs. We talked with all GPs about names ie who was going to be "Gran", "Grandma", "Nana" etc and DH's stepmother ended up being "Nana", which is what our DS have called her ever since.
We saw FiL and sMiL in the summer (they live several thousand miles away). DS1 and 2 are now in their teens and at one point during our stay, sMiL said to me "they don't need to call me Nana any more, they're old enough to call me by my first name". I was a bit taken aback as she was saying it only in relation to her, not to FiL who is still "Grandpa." In other words, she was suggesting that as she wasn't their "real" grandparent then she should be called by her first name. My DC have only ever known her as "Nana" and, although of course they understand she is not a blood relative they consider her to be as much, if not more, of a grandparent than DH's mother. I didn't pursue the conversation at that point, and the DC called her "Nana" for the remainder of the holiday.
Then this morning the DCs got a nice chatty letter from FiL and sMiL, signed "Grandpa" and "(first name)". I feel really upset that she's distancing herself from them, and that maybe she doesn't consider them to be her "proper" GC - AIBU?

Minnieisthedevilmouse Thu 21-Nov-13 22:02:56

I'm unsure tbh. How is your relationship? Could you ask her? Or fil? There could be reasons you don't appreciate, maybe she did this with other children? It looks bad but I'm wondering if it's not as straightforwards as appears tbh.

PolterWho Thu 21-Nov-13 22:05:24

My ds is 10 and calls me and dp by our names, it doesn't make us any less his parents. Can't see the big deal at all.

WipsGlitter Thu 21-Nov-13 22:06:16

Yes. We called my grandfathers wife (my mums stepmum) by her name and it didn't matter a jot. This is really it worth stressing about.

Tommy Thu 21-Nov-13 22:08:33

I wouldn't worry about it - children call their grandparents what they want IME. I would leave it as an issue (if it has to be!) between her and them - not your problem!!

aurynne Thu 21-Nov-13 22:08:57

If your DSs are in their teens this is something that should concern them only, and should be between them and their DGM. If they are happy calling her by her name, then I can't see any problem with it. If they're not, they will call her whatever they want, and there's nothing she can do about it.

MrsAMerrick Thu 21-Nov-13 22:09:54

Minnie, DH is an only child so no other GC on this side of the family. My sMiL has 2 GD who are roughly the same age as our DS, but we've never met them due to living so far away. When we were there in the summer I didn't have the courage to say "oh, so do your GD call you Barbara?" but maybe I should have.... I suspect they call her "Nana" or similar and that she hasn't asked them to do otherwise because they are the "real" grandchildren. I suppose that I have known her and my MiL for the same length of time and don't differentiate between them (although much prefer sMiL to MiL!!), but it feels as though that's what she's doing. My DH doesn't really see why it's an issue. talking is tricky because she and FiL are quite deaf and so the phone is out, and they don't use computers, so conversations have to be done by post.

Thymeout Thu 21-Nov-13 22:11:33

I don't think this is about her not considering your dcs as 'proper grandchildren' or distancing herself from them.

She herself said it was because they were old enough now to call her by her first name. It sounds as if she'd have done the same if they'd been blood grandchildren. Perhaps that's how things are done in her own family. Or she sees it as a coming of age thing, thinks they'd have a better relationship with her as adult to adult.

It's up to your dcs whether they can remember and make the switch. But nothing to get upset about.

MrsAMerrick Thu 21-Nov-13 22:12:46

If she had said right from the beginning that she didn't want to be "Nana" but would rather use her first name, then that would have been fine, it's the fact that she's suddenly saying it 17 years down the line. To me, it's as though she is suddenly saying she's not really their DGM, when i feel she is....

Maybe I'm overthinking this!

Cutteduppumpkin Thu 21-Nov-13 22:13:28

Oh that's so sad. I'm a stepmum, and whilst I cretainly wouldn't want the kids to call me mum (I'm not), I would be honoured to get some sort of title when they have kids themselves.

Can you ask your dad what's going on?

MrsAMerrick Thu 21-Nov-13 22:15:09

Thanks, Thymeout, I haven't thought of it that way, and as FiL hasn't said the same thing then I suspect it's not but I will go with that suggestion/thought as it will keep me happier! We are unlikely to see them again for 2 years due to distance, so i guess it will be a while until we have that conservation, by which time a lot of things might have happened that will make this seem small beer in comparison!

Pilgit Thu 21-Nov-13 22:16:32

It sounds like you have a close enough relationship to have a conversation with her about it. It may be that she doesn't feel old enough to have grandchildren that old! Some people just don't like being called something so 'old'. As long as she doesn't treat them any differently - it's a matter for her and the children to resolve.

redshifter Thu 21-Nov-13 22:24:04

I agree exactly with what minnie said.

Could be lots of innocent reasons. It may seem normal to her. Or even something sillyl like it makes her feel old to be called "Nana". It probably never crossed her mind that it would upset anyone.

I have many nephews and nieces, they always called me Uncle Red, when they got to teens I told them to just call me Red. We all prefer it that way. Not the same I know but just a thought.

Could you discuss with her or FiL to find out the reason? Maybe say to her " DC think of you as their proper Nana, would you mind if they still call you that". She may be pleased, she may not.

She may not be trying to distance herself. Try not to think the worst until you can find out more.

Joysmum Thu 21-Nov-13 22:24:36

How do you know that was her intension rather than just being 'modern'

I remember when my parents divorced when I was 18, my own dad suggested I called him by his first name. It was because my mums brothers kids called their parents by their first name and dad thought it was the in thing and something I might like.

No dad, you're my dad and it's a term of respect and marks our relationship as special because everyone else calls you by your first name.

spindlyspindler Thu 21-Nov-13 23:42:04

My grandfather is actually my stepgrandfather and I have always called him by his first name (as have all of his "real" grandchildren). I have never felt that he didn't see me as a "real" grandchild. I don't think it should matter myself.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Fri 22-Nov-13 00:25:04

One of my grandmothers decided at some point to stop brig Nanny and become Grandma.

My other grandmother seems to be Nan to most of my
Cousins so I tend to follow suit but she was also Nanny when I was young

I generally try to avoid calling them anything to their face as Nan or Grandma feels odd as an adult but so does using their first names

SeaSickSal Fri 22-Nov-13 00:36:13

I think perhaps she has never liked Nana but didn't want to rock the boat. Nana is horrible, it's a dog or a goat.

I don't think she is necessarily distancing herself, just moving the relationship to a more adult level.

SeaSickSal Fri 22-Nov-13 00:37:16

Also, and I'm not really sure how to say this without sounding rude - Nana is very déclassé.

Caitlin17 Fri 22-Nov-13 00:47:33

YABU. She's not a blood relative. She's not their grandmother.

"Nanny" is an employee; "Nana" is either a fictional dog or a fictional gold digging 19th century French prostitute and "Nan" is plain.horrible.
She has gone along with it but she has a name, maybe she'd just like to use it.

coralanne Fri 22-Nov-13 00:51:54

I was only 6 years old when my first Nephew was born. He still calls me Aunty and I don't mindsmile

coralanne Fri 22-Nov-13 00:53:53

I am Grandma to my DGC. My dad was always Grandfather to my DC and DH's father was Grandad

Caitlin17 Fri 22-Nov-13 00:56:28

And although I've said she's not their grandmother I don't think it would be in the least bit odd or unreasonable for her to want to use her name.

I'm not fussed one way or other whether children use mummy,etc,etc but being honest I actually find it weird that grown-ups continue it.

It also annoys me beyond all reason when mother in law refers to OH as "son" which is a very west of Scotland thing , but really grates.

Caitlin17 Fri 22-Nov-13 00:58:15

Argh, I meant even if she were their natural gm it'd be fine for her to want to use her name.

When I was about 13yo, my uncle asked my mum to ask me to stop calling him Uncle X and to just call him X instead. He had a new, trendy, young wife and she seemed to be the catalyst.

I found it very. very hard to break the habit. Felt confused and muddled when I saw him. Embarrassed to say his name out loud in case I got it wrong. I didn't know what to call him when I was talking about him to other people (like my GPs or his children).

I don't know why he couldn't just put up with being my uncle (as he is the only one I've got).

MoominsYonisAreScary Fri 22-Nov-13 01:04:33

We use Nana, none of us pronounce it like the goat or the dog though. Its not unusually to use Nana where I'm from.

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