Laurie’s mom is sad and a little overwhelmed that her oldest son is growing up.
The first thing that Laurie’s mom notices is that Laurie has renounced his little boy clothes and started wearing more grown-up attire. Her son wants to be more grown-up and independent now that he has started kindergarten.
I watched him go off the first morning with the older girl next door, seeing clearly that an era of my life was ended, my sweet-voiced nursery-school tot replaced by a longtrousered, swaggering character who forgot to stop at the corner and wave good-bye to me.
Laurie’s mom has her hands full. In addition to her boisterous son, she also has a baby to take care of. It is difficult for her to stay on top of both children. When the baby needs attention, she often focuses on him at the expense of Laurie. This causes Laurie to act out in a desire to get any kind of attention.
He came home the same way, the front door slamming open, his cap on the floor, and the voice suddenly become raucous shouting, “Isn’t anybody here?”
Laurie’s desire to make waves leads him to act up at home and at school. He also invents an imaginary classmate he calls Charles, whose exploits he can describe without getting in trouble. When Laurie tells his parents about “Charles,” they are interested but only absently. They are more interested in their everyday lives and have no idea that Charles is their son.
His kindergarten teacher tells her that the adjustment was tough, but Laurie is getting better. By the time Laurie’s mom realizes that her son is the Charles he has been describing, Laurie is finally straightening out. The teacher tells her that there is no Charles, and this is how she finds out that Laurie invented him.