We are incredibly lucky that my boys each have a best friend in a cousin. Christopher's best friend is Joakim, who's 12, and Benjamin's best friend is Joakim's brother - 8 year old Mathias.
Joakim and Christopher, in particular, have always been very close, despite the fact that they've only seen each other once or twice a year.
Thus, one of the biggest advantages of our stay in Europe is that the boys get to spend lots of time together. My worry that they might grow tired of each other, seeing as they only live 15 minutes away from each other this year, has been solidly disproved. If anything, the boys have grown closer, and the younger two have had a chance to cement an equally tight relationship.
We really enjoy having the cousins visit, and they often spend the night on weekends. Tonight is such a night. The boys have been playing together since late afternoon, and we all just returned from a tobogganing session in the snow.
As I write this, the two oldest boys are hanging out in their bedroom, playing DS. The two younger boys are downstairs playing Battleground, a Christmas present from my brother.
Both pairs of boys are talking excitedly to each other.
But here's the kicker - while my boys are speaking a somewhat accented Norwegian, Mathias and Joakim are responding in equally broken English.
Clearly, all four boys have decided to perfect a foreign language this year.
Half the time, Mike and I have no clue what they're saying, but somehow the boys understand each other perfectly. And what's more, no one corrects the other's numerous errors. They're communicating, and that's all that matters.
I love it. I only wish I could bottle it up and keep it for posterity.