According to Celebrity Baby Blog, Sarah MacLachlan has named her second daughter, born June 22nd, Taa-Jah Summer.
Now, honestly. I kind of liked Apple Martin. I even gave a pass to Helen Hunt when she named her utterly WASPy looking daughter MaKena lei Gordon Carnahan. But Taa-Jah? Wow.
I’m wondering if Sarah cracked under the pressure that all us moms feel nowadays to come up with that REALLY cool and unusual, but not too unusual, not trying too hard name for her baby. Back in our parents’ day? If it was a boy, you had like four choices: Jimmy, Bobby, Tommy, or Mike. Girls, you had maybe ten choices, but one of your daughters had to be named Jennifer or Amy, so if you kept it to one daughter, the work was pretty much done for you.
These days, your baby’s name, like everything else in your baby’s world, is something you just have to overthink. And the harder you try to come up with something unusual, the more likely it is, seemingly, that everyone else will have the same idea that year.
My first son’s name is Cooper. It’s my grandmother’s maiden name. My husband and I thought his name was so cool, so unusual- and then, a month after he was born, the Laci Peterson case broke on CNN, and her unborn son (to have been named “Conner,” with the irksome “e,” like Bart Conner, the male gymnast) inspired thousands of moms across this great nation to go with Conner for their son (or Konor, or Kon’r, or various abominations I won’t get into). “Cooper” is now the 13th most popular name for boys in the United States. And although my son is the only Cooper at his school, in his soccer class, at camp, it just kills me that I picked a hack name when I tried so hard not to.
My second son’s name is Fergus. It was part of his grandfather’s name. After the “Kon’r” debacle, I was determined that my second child’s name really would be unusual. And it is Fergus was the 986th most popular name for a boy in the United States last year. As someone who has had to be Amy W. throughout my life, to differentiate myself from the other three Amys in the room, I was quite happy with that statistic. But we may have overshot our target and gone too far into Taa-Jah territory.
Now my husband and I are discussing names for our imminent third, and we’re hitting some roadblocks. I like “Declan.” He feels that we can’t go even further afield with the Irish thing than we did with “Fergus.” My husband likes “Matthew.” I absolutely cannot get past the idea that it was the 4th most popular name for boys in the US last year. For me, that makes it a non-starter.
But why? Maybe I should reconsider that. Was it really so bad to be Amy W. all my life? Wouldn’t my kid rather be saddled with “Matthew F.” than, say… “Taa-Jah Evensong”? Isn’t it sometimes easier to hang with the pack, rather than have to repeat your name three times to each new person you meet?
If it’s a girl, we’re thinking “Mairead.” Rhymes with “parade.” Beautiful Irish name. Or maybe we’ve really lost it.