the learn really fast hun...seriously, ds8 is already aware. he knows mentally and emotionally that dh and i are parenting him....he has "sleepovers" at ex's. sleep overs are "fun"...but not "normal time".
he loves going there (1 night a f/n) but when offered a holiday with them, it took convincing him (god, that was hard lol) and i convinced him he would be ok for 6 nights.
my ex pretty good these days, but it was a long long journey to get here. i remember the years of being so scared of him. the scariest days being the ones he was nice...because i knw he was planning something horrid
it is a constant internal battle, putting our kids best interest over our self interest. hang in there.