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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Sibling Initials

Leah writes:
We are expecting a boy, our 3rd child. We have a daughter, Caroline and a son, Oliver. We've narrowed down the names to either William or Wilson for the baby. We are nowhere close to deciding between the two. Most likely he will end up being called Will either way, but to me Wilson will always be a volleyball. My husband is not convinced.

However, that is not my question. Here's my question: I'm a little worried because our children's initials will spell COW. This might not be an issue in every family but our surname is Ellcey (pronounced Elsie). Think Elsie the Cow from Borden Milk. My husband thinks this is hilarious. I'm a little horrified. So I'm wondering if this will be an issue or if anyone else will notice this little fact? And does it really matter? They will spend a large part of their lives as separate people whose friends and co-workers won't even know their siblings, much less their names.

I don't think I ever would have noticed the situation on my own, and in fact I immediately did an inventory of my own kids' initials to see if they spelled anything. Now that you've pointed it out to me, I come down on the side of amusement. I think if I were you I'd go ahead and use Wilson/William.

Let's take a vote and see what everyone else thinks. The poll is to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (280 votes total):
Go ahead and use W name: 271 votes, roughly 97%
Don't use W name: 9 votes, roughly 3%


Carmen said...

I also would not have noticed the sibling's initials being COW. I was even going to go so far as to say that no one will ever notice, but I suppose some people will. The initials of myself, my husband & kids are C, L, K, & A. My in-laws have taken to referring to us collectively as LACK (eg. what did LACK do this weekend?). I had no clue what they were talking about the first time, I had to ask. They've said things to my parents, who also were clueless and had to ask what it meant. It drives me INSANE.

Anonymous said...

I love the name William. Its my son's name, he is named after two Bills. I assumed we'd call him Will but we use William just as often.

I like the idea of Wilson, since its not as common, but besides the volleyball, Wilson reminds me of the neighbor on Home Improvement. Probably not a big deal to the little guy's generation, but your peers might also make the connection...

Susan said...

I can't believe that more than one person in ten thousand would ever think about taking the first initials of everyone in a family and working with them to see if they spelled any words. I think DEFINITELY go ahead with Will for your third child. I'd think so even if the initials spelled a bad word, but even more so since they don't.

Erika said...

I would never, ever have thought to put their initials together to form the word COW. And I like both Wilson and William very much!

Jess said...

The only time this ever will be an issue is when you're playing a game where you have to keep track of everyone's score so you write down all their initials. When I was a kid I used to love that my family's initials spelled out a word (JARS) and would always create the score columns in that order. But that wasn't just the siblings. Still, if anything I bet the kids will like it and nobody else will ever notice.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's highly unlikely anyone will put your kids' first initials together.

I think William is a good sibling match with Caroline and Oliver, while Wilson is a different category of name. I'm guessing that the majority of young Williams are called Will -- or will eventually shorten their name to Will as they're growing up -- so I don't think there's anything to be gained by choosing the less popular, non-classic Wilson as the given name. I think Caroline, Oliver and William sound very substantial together.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

1-I don't think anyone will notice.
2- If someone does notice, it will be more like, "Hmm, that's funny."
3-Cows are not inherently bad or offensive. It's not like the initials will spell out a curse word.


Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Go for it. I only noticed because the post mentioned "Sibling Initials", so I was watching for what they were... otherwise, wouldn't have thought of it. I don't tend to put families initials together, and I don't think others do either. Unless you're playing a game like Jess mentioned, and I totally agree with her opinion - they might just find it fun!

I like the name William more than Wilson, so I choose William. Great name!

Lara Jane said...

Oh, go on and use it. I wouldn't have thought of it, either!

I'm voting for William over Wilson, too. It seems to "fit" better with Caroline and Oliver.