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More from the mouths of babes

In response to last week's column, I would like to thank "Nana Cuckoo," "Grama No Dog" and "Boo Boo."

These are just a few of the names I heard about after I wrote about the endearing, often funny ways children address their grandparents.

Cheryl "Grammy" Benzino, of Williamsville, shared with me several nicknames in an e-mail.

First, there was her own "Great Grandma Blue" who earned that title because "she had blue tint religiously applied to her beautiful white hair," Benzino explained.

Benzino's youngest daughter came up with a unique name for her maternal grandmother: "Poopsie." And then -- this family doesn't give up -- when the first grandchild was on his way, Benzino's husband told everyone he was too young to be called "Grandpa."

Instead, he wished to be called "Sir." Seriously. Everyone complied, and they became known as Grammy and Sir.

"The other first-time grandparents became 'Nana' and 'Papa.' At 15 months, Scott (the grandchild, now 12), decided to call my husband 'Papa Sir,' and so as not to confuse his papas, dubbed the other one 'Papa Choo Choo' (of course he has a train set in the basement!)," Benzino said. The nicknames stuck and, now, even the adults call each other by these names.

Linda Weaver, of Cattaraugus, answers to another distinctive name: "Gramma Honey," which her granddaughter came up with when she was just learning to talk.

And no wonder.

Bill, Weaver's then-new husband -- this was 18 years ago -- called her "Honey." Still does.

"She continued to call me that as she grew up, and so did her brother, three years younger. Then the next one followed along but added, 'Grampa Honey.' They have several sets of grandparents, and this is a wonderful way to tell them apart," Weaver wrote.

Indeed, readers reminded me, kids often come up with creative names to distinguish between multiple grandparents.

"When my two granddaughters were born they were fortunate to have two sets of grandparents, two sets of great-grandparents and one great-grandfather, thus making things a bit complicated," wrote Maureen Grabenstatter, of Elma.

Not to the grandchildren, though. One set of grandparents had a dog, so the girls called them "Grama Meg" and "Poppy Meg" (Meg being the dog's name). The other set -- Grabenstatter and her husband -- became lovingly known as "Grama and Poppy No Dog."

Sometimes, nicknames correspond, for better or worse, to physique.

"My mother was a petite woman, but my mother-in-law was a larger woman. So my children called my mother 'Little Nana' and my mother-in-law 'Big Nana.' Fortunately, they were happy with their Grandma names. It caught on and all of us, family and friends, identified them by either 'Big Nana' or 'Little Nana,' " said Geri Mondi, council secretary, Niagara Falls City Council.

Maureen Merchant, too, said there is a logical explanation behind her 3-year-old granddaughter calling her "Nana Cuckoo." Merchant is a grandmother who enjoys playing on the floor, singing goofy songs and making funny faces. As a result, her daughter and son-in-law were always asking their little one: "Isn't Nana cuckoo?"

Hence, the name.

Says Merchant, of Lockport: "I don't mind the odd looks when we're in public; I am thrilled and honored by such a unique name. I just wonder what she will think when she's old enough to realize what she's actually calling me. Should be good for another laugh!"

smartin@buffnews.com

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