The first few rows on dpns are really awkward--those things flail around like some multi-legged beastie. It's normal :hug:
To make knitting easier, try resting your work on a table or your leg--anything stable to prevent the knitting from flopping about. Once you get about 5 or 6 rows in, the flopping won't really be bothersome anymore.
As for the ladders, try knitting the second stitch on each dpn really tightly. (Most people go for the first, and the first is fine, but it's the second that makes the difference.)
Best of luck to you--you can do this! And feel reassured that your experiences are completely normal!