Zoë Saldana is stuck in a bit of a time loop.
The I Kill Giants actress, 39, jokes in the latest issue of PEOPLE that every day is the same in her house when it comes to making sure 3-year-old twins Cy Aridio and Bowie Ezio remember to include their new little brother, 15-month-old Zen Anton Hilario.
“We’re in a constant Groundhog Day where we’re repeating the same messages of compassion: ‘Don’t forget about little brother!’ ” Saldana tells PEOPLE in the latest issue. “I mean, he’s not a pushover, so that’s a good thing. But it’s really hard to be the little brother to two twin older brothers.”
She continues, “They’re identical twins and they’re really attached at the hip and their connection is really majestic. So it takes a lot of conscious action to not forget about Zen — but Zen never lets them forget either. He’s really persistent.”
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The actress and her Italian husband Marco Perego are also making sure their three sons are connected to their heritage by teaching them Italian and Spanish as they grow up. Even though that may seem like a lot for such young kids, Saldana says her boys are handling the three languages well.
“I think they’re doing much better than we are,” Saldana admits. “They understand all three languages, and they also choose who they speak the languages with. So with their Italian grandparents they will speak in Italian, with their [Spanish-speaking] grandparents they speak in Spanish, and with Mama and Papa they will speak back in English — but they understand in any language we speak to them.”
But the America-born Puerto Rican and Dominican actress says she had to stage an intervention of sorts with her parents and in-laws when they were pressuring them to make sure the kids speak their languages.
“I have to also be respectful and cognizant of my sons and that they are American, and that English is their first language, and we’re just going to give them the bonus and teach them the importance of being connected to their parents and their grandparents — but it’s not a deal breaker,” she says. “It is important that we honor our heritage, but our heritage should never take priority over who we are as nationals, and we’re American. We were born in America.”
For more from Saldana, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.