At least 3 people have asked me recently if life has gotten easier as my kids are growing up. I initially answer a resounding "YES", but then feel the need to temper the enthusiasm with "but its still not easy, of course!"
B will be five in about 5 weeks. Over the past few months he's gotten infinitely more self-sufficient. He finally is out of pull-ups at night and hasn't had a single accident since late September. He can, and does, dress himself completely (including those pesky shirts he always had trouble getting over his head) and brushes his teeth by himself (though he still likes me to do it sometimes). He knows when he has to use the bathroom and takes himself there, not requiring frequent reminders or even forcing as he did not even a few months ago. He even started trying to clean himself up (this is HUGE, right?) He can get on his shoes and boots by himself and can don and ZIPPER his coat. When he's hungry, he eats, and understands what foods are healthy vs. treats and can monitor himself pretty well on that. He can tell us when he's feeling sick, and describe what's going on. He knows that when he's sick, he needs to nap and go to bed early, and does it without complaint. When he feels the need to throw up, he gets himself to the toilet. He can walk a mile or more at a good pace, and can go the 2.2 miles to school on his scooter at a brisk/too fast pace. He can order for himself at a restaurant, carries on conversations with his hair dresser, and can generally ask for what he needs from his teachers or other adults. He has also become way more social, and will fly off with his friends at a birthday party or the park without a backwards glance.
Of course, these are all little things, but its those little things that make getting out of the house or getting to bed just that bit easier.
B also still has tantrums about the silliest things. He hits & fights with his little brother constantly. He wants everything L has, and had tantrums and sulked for hours on L's birthday when he saw that L got gifts and he didn't. He is always distracted, so while he CAN get dressed by himself, many times we head upstairs to check on him after he's been gone for 5 minutes and he's lost in some game or song or daydream with his shirt half over his head.
L is just three, he needs hands-on help with pretty much everything, still wakes at night and comes upstairs most nights, pees through his pullup most nights requiring clothes/bed change, sucks his thumb constantly, subsists mostly on fruit, sugar and white carbohydrates, and can walk about 10 steps before "carry you!" begins. He usually starts most fights with B and goes straight for the face/hair pulling. He has gotten in trouble at daycare more than once for hitting, throwing toys or the like. At home, he refuses to clean up, despite threats of throwing toys away, time out, etc... He has daily potty accidents because he just won't stop what he's doing and/or is being stubborn about NOT NEEDING TO GO (as he goes, in his pants).
He is, however, now capable of entertaining himself for up to 15 minutes at a time, without needing me to be within 2 feet of him. This is also pretty helpful for trying to get stuff done around the house.
So yes, things get easier. But we haven't gotten to "easy" yet...does that even exist?