Monday, August 23, 2021

Digital grandparents

We were doing a video call with my mom when my dad entered the room.

"Oh, look! It's Grandpa!" my mom said. 

Now, I can't remember when or why my kids started calling him Bumpa. One of them wasn't able to pronounce Grandpa, I think. And then they all just started calling him Bumpa. I think it stuck because my mom goes by Naanii, so Bumpa seemed like a logical companionship to that name, whereas Andrew's dad, who was also called Bumpa for a time, morphed back into Grandpa when the child who couldn't say Grandpa learned to say Grandpa (because we still called Karen Grandma, so it was always Grandma and Grandpa). 

Long story short: My kids consider my dad to be Bumpa, not Grandpa.

The youngest children are particularly strict about this distinction, so Alexander said, "You know his name is not Grandpa! His name is Bumpa! But I have another grandpa that is on my dad's..."

At this point I melted, thinking that Alexander was going to say "side of the family," a rather complicated concept for such a little guy to make—knowing which relatives belong to which parent. 

But, no.

"!" Alexander finished. 

He has another grandpa on his dad' 

It was a hilarious way for him to distinguish where he "keeps" his grandparents. Like, Mom has the "Naanii & Bumpa App" on her phone and Dad has the "Grandpa App" on his phone and we can just ring them up whenever we want to, immediately providing an indulging, admiring audience for whom he can perform his every whim. 

Even though I'm sure relatives sometimes feel more theoretical than actual to Alexander's young mind, I'm grateful for the technology that allows us to so easily speak with and see each other. I'm sure he has a much better conception of who his grandparents are than I had at that age (because what I had was a disembodied voice on a telephone line; but only ever for a brief hello because long distance charges).

We're really lucky. 

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