Simon Cowell is no stranger to controversy — his bluntness as a judge on the popular American Idol and X Factor series often landed him in the headlines — and that trait is following him to his personal life. Cowell is expecting his first baby with Lauren Silverman, a relationship that again landed Cowell in the headlines. The latest news, however, is purely happy: the couple are reported to be expecting a son.
Not many people know that parents actually have a whole calendar year after birth to name their child. I’m not saying wait until day “364” and then print up your birth announcement cards, but what I am saying is: “DON’T SIGN THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE until you are in total agreement with your partner, your spouse and your soul”. Because once it’s on the birth certificate, it is set in stone and if you want to change it, you must go through the courts.
I should know. I went through it. There was more drama and contention in naming my second daughter than in a whole season arc of “The Good Wife”. I had thrown at least 200 viable names at my litigator hubby and he had an argument for all of them. “Sadie”, “Goldie” and “Billie” were too ” turn of the century”. He dismissed “Noa”, one of my most fervent picks as being “too old testament”. The name “Fiona” made my heart sing, but made my husband think of Shrek’s true ogre love. We went through all of Shakespeare’s canon, checked out the hot-names-of-the-moment and even dusted off our high school yearbooks. But as they say in Vegas: “No dice”.
Three days before I was to go in for my C, we were watching CNN and a beautiful talking head named Torrie was pontificating about the issue du jour. Her name flashed on the screen. Hubby and I turned to each other. Now that was a name we hadn’t considered. We dug the cool spelling. And hey, Tori means “bird” in Japanese! After five months of living in Camp David Hell, the STAGNATE was over. Torrie was to be our second daughter’s name, hours before the shot clock expired.
Oh, but wait, what about the middle name? I woke up in recovery to hear my mother sobbing on the phone. Mom was seriously emotional. For a split second, I thought she was the one who had just had the baby. “What kind of middle name is MADELEINE!?!?” she demanded.
In all fairness, I completely understood her breakdown. We had promised to honor her mother (my Oma) with our daughter’s middle name. My husband had convinced me that just using the first initial “M” was honor enough. And being minutes away from birth, I didn’t have the Leila Ali left in me. Besides, Torrie Madeleine flowed quite nicely. With so little time, we had neglected to mention the name change to my parents and our dismissal of my grandmother’s name was seen as a total betrayal. My husband, meanwhile, wanted my mom to butt out. After numerous yelling matches, breakdowns and threats from all parties concerned, my daughter’s name was changed TWICE in the hospital. And that was before signing the birth certificate. We were acting in our very own reality show: “PSYCHO MOMMIES OF BEVERLY HILLS”. Instead of wheeling us to our car, I’m sure the staff wanted to wheel us to the nearest mental facility.
To cap it off, six months later, my husband and I turned to each other after a night out and confessed our mutual dislike of our daughter’s name. After auditing the name “Torrie”, it took six months and a bottle of Cakebread to admit defeat.
After numerous Skypes with the grandparents, it was decided that if we were going to go through a legal name change, we should pick a name with significance, a name to which we actually have a visceral connection. I know, what a concept, right?
So we hired a lawyer. To change a name legally, you need to petition the court for your desired name change and then get a court order approving the name change. You also must give public notice of the name change, such as have it printed up in the local newspaper. And then you need a final decree from the court authorizing the name change. Many states, including California, have the whole process written online with downloadable forms you can fill out. My advice: GET AN ATTORNEY. You don’t want to deal with this meshugas.
My attorney and I went down to LA Superior Court, which was a madhouse as the McCourt divorce trial was going on in the next courtroom. After wading through dozens of paparazzi, I sat down in the courtroom pew, along with about a half dozen parolees. It seems the only people who go through a legal name change are crazy, indecisive parents like us, Metta World Peace, Snookie and convicted felons who want a fresh start. My attorney expedited the process and got me the heck out of there.
What is the collateral damage, you ask? A beautiful, ornate piggy-bank with “Torrie” written on the pink torso, which I can’t bring myself to throw out and a little teasing from her big sister when she’s in a particularly saucy mood.
The only real incident occurred last month, as we boarded a ship to Alaska. We had yet to formally change our daughter’s passport. Changing a name on a passport is so complicated, just maneuvering through all the paperwork requires a graduate degree in structural engineering. The ticket agents kept referring to my 4 year old as “Torrie”. “Torrie, sweetie, look into this camera, so we can take your picture.” We whispered to our little pistol that she shouldn’t worry, this was just a temporary hiccup. My headstrong daughter would have none of it. “My name is NOT Torrie!”, she yelled at anyone within earshot. We were totally stressed, certain we’d be denied access to the boat. Walking up the ramp to the boat, my daughter continued her rant “I am not TORRIE!” I started laughing and seriously couldn’t stop. Tears were pouring down my face. I collapsed to the ground, hunched over like a fetus, laughing so hard, I was gasping for air. People behind me thought I was having a seizure.
So, whether you name your child while it’s in utero, in the hospital or back home, do like Jackson Pollock and have an abundant palate, play around in the mess and then, ultimately, make it stick.
Josh and Fergie Duhamel have expanded their family! The couple welcomed son Axl Jack Duhamel on August 29th. The couple managed to keep Axl’s name a secret until his arrival — despite suggestions from Twitter followers that included Gargamel Ishmael Duhamel. Glad they didn’t go with that one!
Will Love and Theft‘s next album feature lullabies? The duo aren’t telling, but they may have ballads on the brain! Eric Gunderson and his wife Emily welcomed their first baby in March; now Stephen Barker Liles and his fiancée Jenna Michelle Kennedy have announced that they’re expecting! The couple is set to welcome their first baby on December 3rd.
He’s here! Singer Michael Bublé and his wife Luisana Lopilato welcomed the headliner in their family this week! The couple welcomed their first baby, son Noah, on August 27th. Noah arrived just in time: dad is getting ready to kick off his tour at the end of this month. Hopefully they’ll get some good father-son bonding time in before then!
NCIS: Los Angeles star Eric Christian Olsen and his wife, actress Sarah Wright, have expanded their family! The couple welcomed their first baby — son Wyatt Oliver — on August 16th. Wyatt’s arrival was apparently a big to-do: according to People, Wyatt weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces at birth!
The baby boom at the Devious Maids set continues! Hard on the heels of the announcements that costars Dania Ramirez and Paula Garcez are expecting, comes news that Matt Cedeño has welcomed his first new one. Cedeño and his wife Erica Franco Cedeño welcomed son Jaxon Cruz Cedeño on August 7th. Erica and Matt both spread the word via Twitter, with Erica sharing, “From heaven to us with great job, we are proud to announce the birth of our baby boy!!!!” and Matt describing the new arrival as “… one cool little dude.”
Life is getting rosy for Alec and Hilaria Baldwin! The couple welcomed their baby — daughter Carmen Gabriela Baldwin — on August 23rd. Hilaria announced the happy news via her Twitter feed, sharing, “We are overjoyed to announce the birth of our daughter Carmen Gabriela. She is absolutely perfect.” Carmen is the first child for the couple, but Baldwin’s second. He has an older daughter, 17-year-old Ireland, with ex-wife Kim Basinger.
Journalists Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk are making their own news this week! Wolfe and Gosk welcomed their first baby — daughter Harper Estelle — on August 21st. Gosk shared the happy news and a first pic of the newbie via her Twitter feed, “First pic. We couldn’t be happier. Thanks for all the great messages @jennawolfe,” while Wolfe shared, “Fell in love the moment I met you.”
Grey’s Anatomy alumna Melissa George is making motherhood news! The actress shared her happy news via Twittter, saying, “Baby on the way! So so happy…xx.” Baby will be the first for George, who’s dating Jean-David Blanc. George hasn’t yet shared when baby is expected to arrive, so we’ll have to stay tuned for more!