When we were expecting our first-born, we considered the issue of bilingualism. At that time, we didn't know any bilingual families with young children, so we read several books on the matter. Most agreed on one point: in order to avoid syntax confusion that might hinder language development, we had to be a monolingual family for the first few years of our child's life. That made perfect sense to us.
When Nicholas was born, though, it became immediately clear that the advice of the experts didn't come naturally to either of us. So we ignored it. I speak Italian with the kids, Tom speaks English with them, Tom and I speak English to each other, they speak mainly Italian among themselves. It sounds quite confusing, but it actually works very smoothly. It works well with books too: the English ones we read in English, the Italian ones in Italian -- translating has never occurred to us.
We hit a big hitch, though, when it came to Scrabble. Tom and I have an English Scrabble board that we got when we first met. The boys weren't comfortable spelling words in English, and the game never caught on with them. Because the letter pieces in the two languages are different, we eventually decided to invest in the Italian version of the game. Now Scarabeo is one of our favorite after-dinner family activities.
A dictionary, a Scarabeo board, a Scrabble board (waiting for the right night) - and we're in for an exciting game, which often ... gets continued the following night!