A perfect child:
* Dresses neatly and practises the violin before breakfast
* Comes top of the class and is captain of everything
* Is unfailingly obedient and sweet-tempered
* Is a perfect credit to its perfect mother
A real child:
* Prefers shoelaces undone and mismatched socks
* Shouts 'Bum!' at Granny
* Turns breakfast and bedtime into a battleground
* Is the normal offspring of imperfect parents
With affectionate lack of illusion and a refreshing honesty about her own shortcomings, Libby Purves examines the pleasures and pitfalls of raising children from three to eight years old. Playgroup, starting school, rude words, pets - all these topics are tackled with frank good humour and down-to-earth advice.
Best of all is her reassuring reminder that there is no such thing as a perfect child.