When you and your partner become new parents, and your parents and your partner’s parents become new grandparents, you don’t have to only choose an appropriate name for the baby (that makes everyone happy) but you also have to work out the names of the grandparents.  I’ve been in this situation in Australia with my first marriage.  Both mine and my spouses dad wanted to be called ‘Granddad’.  So what do you do when you have two granddads and only one name?  In the end my dad lost to ‘Grandpa’ but it still made life confusing with a ‘Granddad’ and ‘Grandpa’.

On the girls side we had two new grandmothers but also two great-grandmothers who already had the popular ‘grandma-names’; Nanna and Nan.  ’Grandma’ was all that was left and so one was called Grandma-Lynn and the other Grandma-Robynne.  It was all very confusing!

Hurra!  Hurra! God bless little Norway’s heart!  Norway has everything sorted for you, even before you have kids.  The generic name for grandmother and grandfather are Bestemor and Bestefar, but here in Norway each grandparent also has their own assigned name.  The grandparents on the father’s side are called ‘Farfar’ (Father’s Father) and Farmor (Father’s Mother).  The grandparents on the mother’s side are called ‘Morfar’ (Mother’s Father) and Mormor (Mother’s Mother).  This keeps everyone happy so all you have to do then is choose your new baby’s name.

Great-grandparents are called ‘Oldeforeldre’ (old-for-elder).  You’d think there could be much confusion with two sets of great-grandparents, however, truth is, Norwegians tend to have children later in life so not many end up as Oldeforeldre.

Parent’s names are easy: Pappa and Mamma.  (Although, it’s hard for me not to think of two round, pizza-making, Italians when I hear the names.)

The word for grandchildren is very cute: ‘Barnebarn’ (children’s children).  But grandchildren also have particular names according to the parents gender – actually they can have two names each depending on which parent’s parents are in focus.  If the parent is the mother then the granddaughter is called ‘Datterdatter’ (daughter’s daughter) but if the parent is the father then the daughter is called ‘Sønnedatter’ (son’s daughter).  Likewise when talking about a grandson: Dattersøn (daughter’s son) and Sønnesøn (son’s son).  So because there are always two sets of grandparents, a granddaughter can be called ‘Sønnedatter’ and ‘Datterdatter’ at the same time!  And likewise with a grandson.  Confused?  I know I am.  Here’s a diagram that will hopefully sort everything out for you:

Click for a larger image.
family-ties

So, in Norwegian reality I am a datter, søster, mor, kusine, tante, niese, barn, barnebarn, sønnedatter and datterdatter. When my kids have kids I will also be a farmor and a mormor.