My three and a half year old son has been saying ‘Voglio un papa Italiano’ recently – this means ‘I want an Italian dad’. He still wants me to be his dad, luckily, but he would prefer me to be Italian, which is a little difficult seeing as I’m English and all that. What he really means is that he wants me to speak to him in Italian, which is something I will not do, at least not until he is able to speak English as well as or better than myself.
I have to admit to being a little taken aback by his comments and also somewhat surprised that a 3.5 year old must be feeling a little self-conscious, which is a phase I thought most youngsters went through in their teens. I was wrong. He is obviously aware, even at this young age, that he is different in that he has a dad that speaks to him in a language that nobody else he knows uses, apart from all those people speaking on the films I bombard him with, but he does not seem to have made the connection between the films and me just yet. This is possibly a good thing as it shows that he has some awareness of what is real and what is not. He is also convinced that he is 100% Italian (He can sing the Italian national anthem quite well!!), which he is really. It’s a little difficult to explain to a little one that he has mixed-blood.
Oh the problems of being a parent, especially a parent who has a son whose father insists on speaking to him in a funny language too!