So, you took the plunge and procreated.
You dragged your increasingly swollen self through the mornings (and afternoons, and nights) of sickness, braved the horrors and the joys of giving birth, and you may have even managed to get your knickers back on afterwards before someone asked ‘So, when are you going for number two?’
At that point in the proceedings, you’re probably off the idea of anything going into your vagina ever again, let alone pushing another small human out.
But eventually you may be considering doing it all again and here are seven reasons why you should.
It improves their language skills
Not only will your older children teach their younger siblings a lot of words (and yes, not always the words you’d like them to learn), but the constant arguing and sniping will ensure they get plenty of practice using them.
Especially the rude words.
Nothing exercises the vocabulary quite like a name-calling war.
They entertain each other
Sometimes this takes the form of snuggling down together to watch TV.
Sometimes it’s a game of football in the garden.
Quite often it’s taking every single toy out of the toy-boxes and playing some complicated, incomprehensible-to adult-eyes game that turns a tidy bedroom into a danger-zone of plastic shrapnel.
It’s good for their numeracy skills
Division can be a tricky subject to learn.
Not so if you are the youngest sibling.
Get an older child to divvy up dessert and you can be sure the youngest child will quickly grasp the concept of equal thirds or quarters.
It teaches them how to work together
East-End criminal gangs have got nothing on the organisational skills of a set of siblings who wish to set up a midnight picnic in the bedroom without The Parents knowing.
Distraction techniques, MI6-level skullduggery and complex negotiations are needed to bring such a project to fruition.
All this comes in very handy when they become parents and wish to have the nice chocolates and biscuits when their kids are in bed.
Someone always has their back
It’s a big scary ole world out there.
Having a sibling means they’ve got back-up.
Or, rather, they know where to get back-up pens, back-up PE kit and back-up homework help.
Also, it’s very handy to have a sibling to confirm that school really did keep you all behind for half an hour or that the dog was sick on their homework.
Yes, all the homework in the house.
It develops their sense of humour
Siblings are really good at sassy one-liners and delivering the sort of sick burns that put hecklers to shame.
It’s the natural progression from basic name-calling; make it funny enough and you won’t get The Eye from your mother, yet still annoy the hell out of your sister.
It’s a unique relationship
They may fight, say that they hate each other and they wish their siblings had never been born but there is no relationship quite like it.
Siblings know each other in a way that friends and parents don’t.
Shared history and experiences give them a world all of their own, a linguistic shorthand and a deep understanding of each other.
Or, in real terms, they may never let it be forgotten who fell asleep on the table that one Christmas, but, when the chips are down and life is crap, no-one else can cheer you up by taking the p*** like a sibling can.