A couple of hints for DPNs. . .
1. Cast onto a straight needle, being sure to leave a tail about a foot long, and then knit the first 6 rows flat. THEN transfer them to the DPNs and join. You'll have enough fabric started to manage what you're doing better. You will get a little split at the join, but when you're through, go back and sew up that little seam.
2. To keep track of where the beginning of the rounds are, put a safety pin in the fabric between those 2 needles.
3. Think of DPNs as a circular, broken into pieces.
4. The "porcupine" thing with the needles does get much, much easier with practise. Just do it for a few minutes every day, and you'll get really good at it!