A Few Specifics:
1) Bedtime. We were in quite a rough patch for a while where A was napping (2-3 hours) and NOT wanting to go to bed, and then -- right after turning 3 -- she finally figured out how to climb out of her crib. Bad combo.
Her nap is now gone (weekdays and weekends), and she seems to be fine without it. Her crib is now a converted toddler bed (as of today!). Tonight, bedtime was at 8:15 pm, and it was tantrumless. A month ago, she would have been carrying on, full of energy, at 9:30 pm. (At that point, my energy level is about 0, so it was just a bad situation all around.)
Painting in lieu of naptime. (From today, photo credit to our nanny)
2) Bedtime, part 2. C still naps and has become quite reliable and solid in his afternoon sleeping habits - down from ~1:30 - 4pm most days. He typically goes to bed at 7 or 7:30 and is up at 6:00, but is typically fine with entertaining himself in the crib for 30 minutes while we shower and get ready.
3) I'm jinxing myself here, but generally no one wakes up overnight.
SUPER DUPER YAY!!
4) A is potty trained and I don't even get nervous about it anymore. (Not for overnight, but we're not going to push that.) And we've ditched the Baby Bjorn potty -- now she just sits on the regular toilet.
5) C no longer puts everything in his mouth. He still puts some things in his mouth, don't get me wrong -- but it's not nonstop. He can play on the playground without getting distracted by the need to taste every wood chip and rotting seed.
6) A is getting marginally better at listening/following directions. Somehow counting down from 3 helps and using a specifically "CALM-BUT-FIRM-I-MEAN-BUSINESS-ANNABEL" voice seems to help.
1) Restaurants. A is generally fine, but C is getting to the point where he's got a finite time limit for being contained in one spot. We've actually had generally successful restaurant meals with both kids (helps that they both like eating), but it's stressful.
2) Mess. OMG. After meals it's like a war zone. And the toys! AGHGHGGH! Sometimes I am jealous of this mom, but her approach feels a little too extreme to me (8 books!? Really?).
3) Sibling relations. Ahhh, I have a feeling this will be a challenge for the next few decades, not just years. They are actually generally very nice to each other (well, C is always nice to A). But sometimes she just gets frustrated with him or feels the need to assert her firstborn power or something and just acts out.
4) One-on-one time. I get plenty with A, because of C's nap and her later bedtime, but poor C! I really wish I had more Cameron-alone time. I may start giving A some screen time 15 minutes before I put C to bed so that I can have one-on-one with him.
5) Time/attention. These two are still not at the point where I can really do anything other than take care of them (and sort of clean up after them) when I'm with them. I have to admit I am looking forward to the time when supervision won't feel quite so intense and all-encompassing -- not to mention physically draining!
6) Corralling: I still find it challenging to take them to public places by myself. They're fine when corralled (C and often A in the shopping cart, for example) but very difficult when there's open space and they are both roaming around. Generally I have to follow C around and hope that A doesn't totally wander off. I don't think she would (just not her nature, really) but . . . she also might.
SO! I have to say that even at this VERY EARLY juncture of parenthood, yes it gets easier. Maybe it will get harder again (although I actually don't think so) but for me it has definitely gotten easier - and better - over the past year.
Also taken by our nanny today. C was enjoying A's new bed!