I Am Tee-Taw

SAM_0292When the grand-girl arrived I was asked what I wanted to be called. My response was “Grandma.” To tell you the truth I don’t actually know any grandmas named ‘Grandma’. So I thought it would be unique. You know what I mean?

I also like “Gamma” as in the MOST powerful ray in the universe. I like the idea of being a powerful force for grandmotherly good. Roight.

My mother is ‘MeeMaw’. The children’s other grandmother is ‘NaNa’. I’ve heard a lot of cutesy grandmother names lately like ‘BeeBee’ or ‘Sugar’ or ‘Sweetie’. I have a friend whose grandkids call her “Ninena” (I spelled it phonetically, I’m sure it is spelled ‘Nina’). My daughter suggested “Banana”. I rejected that right away. Not only is it cutesy but I don’t want to be confused with a fruit.

My beloved grandmother’s name was “Nannie”. There can be no one else like her. My other grandmother’s name was “Grandmother”. We didn’t know her very well. I think sometimes names say it all. “Grandmother” is a bit stand-offish.

It has been a family tradition that the first grand baby names the grandparent.

To the grand-girl I suggested “Grandma”, “Grammy”, or  “Grams” to no effect. At twenty months old, the grand-girl was thinking. She can recite her A,B,C’s. She can spell her name. She can count to ten.

I remained nameless.

To be honest this child never ever had to call me anything.  I would do anything she indicated with a flick of her tiny wrist.

Then about two weeks ago I heard her practicing something that sounded like “Grandma” only it came out as “NHN-ma” – the first syllable pronounced somewhere inside the upper sinus cavity. (If a kid can do it so can you.) She would spend time by herself in another room saying this over and over. Precious.

Then this past weekend I heard her call me “NeeNaw”. I said, “So I’m NeeNaw?” She said, “Tee-Taw”. I said, “So I’m ‘Tee-Taw’?” She smiled.

So Tee Taw I am. And I’m thrilled to be so named.

2 thoughts on “I Am Tee-Taw”

  1. I was just curious about my nickname “Teetaw”. I have been thinking lately about what my future grandchildren would call me. I am stuck on Grandma Teetaw. It’ s interesting to see that you have chosen Tee -Taw as well. I think it is cute and thought unique. Mine comes from my name Theresa. My brother pronounced it Teetaw and it stuck. Family and friends use it. Can’t wait to add Grandma to it. So enjoy your grandchildren Tee-Taw!


    1. Thank you for your note. I guess my granddaughter heard “grandma” that way. She can’t pronounce some initial letters and that may explain it. But since then I have learned that “teetaw” is a word for “grandma” in colloquial Mexican dialect and the ladies who care for her during church we have encouraged to speak Spanish to her. A second language doesn’t hurt in this day and age. I like your nickname.


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