We have done a lot to prepare the children for the idea of having a new sibling popping out at some point.
We told them right away when we found out about the pregnancy, we have read books and talked about what the baby was like at various points in time. There is a character in the "Little Bear" cartoons that is called No-Feet, because he is a snake. In the first few weeks Rajiv and Rohan had a lot of fun referring to the baby as No-Feet, because we had read that the arms and legs form later...
Then we all chose a name for the baby. Temporary, let me reassure you. It was decided for some reason lost in the fog of time that we should call him Picu. We don't know that it is a boy, but let me say "he" anyway, for now. We talk about Picu all the time and we talk to Picu too, sometimes.
A few times Rohan has seemed a little disappointed that he will not be the smallest child anymore and he likes to reaffirm, constantly, how small he is. Overall though the kids seem really happy about this new baby.
Still, sometimes I wonder whether there might be some doubts or fears they have and that they don't feel free to share with us. So a couple of weeks ago I asked directly: "Are you happy that Picu is coming out soon, or are you also a bit worried?"
Rajiv (convinced) - "I'm happy!"
Rohan (frowning) - "I'm worried. I am worried that Picu is not coming out!"
I can only sympathize with this feeling. We have talked about this baby for so long that it feel like a permanent feature of our life, to have a baby in mamma's tummy. Probably Rohan thinks he's been had and babies don't really come out of tummies, they just stay there.
Rajiv too seems to have trouble picturing a mamma with a vacant womb. We sometimes talk all together about whether Picu will be a boy or a girl and Rajiv really wants another baby brother. S would like to see what it is like to have a girl and he tries to convince Rajiv of all the advantages of that outcome. These days, Rajiv's reply is always: "The next one can be a girl, ok?".
Let me not mention the dad's reaction at this thought, but the point is that both my children are so used to me being pregnant that they think that's what moms do, they grow babies season after season in one continuous endless cycle. How appealing..