Laurie speaks insolently to his parents, spills the baby’s milk, and calls his father names.
Laurie’s parents seem to have no idea that the boy whose bad behavior he describes every day is actually him. Laurie’s behavior at home clearly demonstrates that he is a handful, but his parents are distracted by the increasingly bizarre behavior he reports every day from his classmate Charles.
At home, Laurie often slams doors, yells, and treats his parents disrespectfully. His parents make no connection between this behavior and Charles’s school antics. They do not even seem to notice that their son is obnoxious at home. They have a new baby that often takes some of their attention.
On Laurie’s first day, he comes home slamming the door and yelling because no one instantly acknowledged his presence.
At lunch he spoke insolently to his father, spilled his baby sister’s milk, and remarked that his teacher said we were not to take the name of the Lord in vain.
His parents do not seem to make the connection between this behavior and the descriptions of the behavior of Charles. Laurie goes seamlessly from his gleeful accounts of the fictional Charles’s bad behavior to being bad himself at home with his parents. His parents either ignore it or are distracted by Charles.
“What did he do?” I asked.
“He just sat there,” Laurie said, climbing into his chair at the table. “Hi, Pop, y’old dust mop.”
“Charles had to stay after school today,” I told my husband. “Everyone stayed with him.”
Laurie’s parents seem unaware that their son is struggling in school, and apparently the teacher thinks it is better to just sit back and wait until he settles down. He does begin to behave more appropriately as time goes on, and by the time Laurie’s mother finally makes it to a parent-teacher conference, he is no longer the Charles he has been describing for so long.