I have 2 kids, ages 4 and 6. My daughter who is the 6-year-old has been to America more times than most of the adults I know. She has been to New York, Colorado, Oregon, and down the entire coast of California. She loves her American roots, she loves even more her Native American roots. She speaks English and Italian fluently, and will most likely speak French long before yours truly.
My son is Italian. Not American and Italian like his sibling, just Italian. I know because he told me so. This is why he will not speak English. At all. Ever. I have tried to explain to him that he is perfectly capable of speaking English, as I have spoken to him in English since he was born. He patiently explains to me that also he has spoken to me in Italian and I can easily speak in Italian. That we all need to speak Italian.
Even Grandma when she comes to visit from America. I have tried everything to change his little mind. With no success what so ever. An unmovable mountain of rock at only four years old. No amount of encouragement, conniving or bribing will work.
He is my Italian child..and just when I start to worry that he will never speak my mother tongue, he will run to open the elevator door and he will say ‘Vai mommy, le femmine per prime.’ which means ‘after you mommy, ladies first..’
and I am the proud mom of the Italian child..