Is there something in the water that celebrities drink right before they give birth? Something capable of completely knocking out the part of the brain labeled “Normal Names To Give a Child”? Or maybe there’s some secret baby book, like “Weird Names R Us” that’s stuffed in the designer diaper bag handed out at the first prenatal checkup for Hollywood moms-to-be. How else can you explain why anyone would name a child Shiloh Nouvel (Angelina Jolie’s offspring) or Zolten (Penn Jillete’s kid)?
Of course, there does seem to be a correlation between kooky names of kids and unusual parent names. Take Demi Moore. I’m pretty sure that the only Demi I know is the actress; not that I know her, but you know what I mean. I’m equally sure that there aren’t a lot of Tallulah Belles, as Demi calls her daughter, running around in your typical suburban neighborhood. Likewise for Madonna, who saddled her daughter with that popular city name, Lourdes. Apparently, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Speaking of apples, what about Gwyneth Paltrow’s kid, Apple? After all, even if mom does have an outrageously theatrical name, it is, at least, a name. But Apple? That’s a fruit, not a girl. Or is Apple a boy? Only the pediatrician knows for sure.
Which leads me to the next little problem here with the naming shenanigans. Everyone knows that a name can make all the difference in the world in your child’s future. Did we learn nothing from Johnny Cash’s stirring song, “A Boy Named Sue”? Name a boy Mark or Bill and you’ve got yourself the president of a company, a la Mr. Bill Gates, or maybe even a major league ball player like that slugger, Mark McGwire. Name that same kid Seven Sirius as Erykah Badu did and you might as well sign him up for dance lessons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Girls, on the other hand, appear to fare better with the bizarre. Everyone cheered extra loudly at my daughter’s high school graduation when her classmate, Chinesegirl Thumbelina, accepted her diploma. Now there’s a girl with a name! Everyone loves Chinesegirl, who, by the way, is neither Chinese nor tiny. And as far as I know, Chinesegirl is the name she answers to every single day. No nicknames for her, no sir.
But that’s a girl for you, smiling and waving ‘cause everyone knows her name. So Helen Hunt’s daughter, Makena’lei, will probably bask in the attention her unusual name brings. Come to think of it, Helen probably knew what she was doing. Helen isn’t exactly the most exciting name in the baby book.
I could say the same for Hazel. Even if you’re not thinking of a middle-aged maid saying, “I’ll get that right away, Mr. Baxter,” I’ll bet you’re getting that ho-hum vibe. Of all the weird and fantastic names available to the stars, Julia Robert’s daughter had to get stuck with a plain old moniker like Hazel. Not so her little brother, Phinnaeus.
Poor Phinnaeus. You better crawl on over to the gym, kiddo. It’s never too early to start working on those biceps.