From another post:
I was watching a program on the treatment of autism in France and the influence of Lacanian ideas in this area. A (Lacanian) child psychiatrist is holding a plastic crocodile that children play with. It is for her a given that the crocodile ‘represents’ the mother. The child puts a doll inside the crocodile’s mouth and so on. Again, we have the idea of an original object that knocks down all subsequent objects into metaphors.
The crocodile becomes a 'copy'. And the child is not so much creating as re-enacting, returning.
In reality, what confronts the child is not the mother, but a strange creature composed of vivid reds and greens, to which the adult world has given the name ‘crocodile’, which is the name for the child of a possible world, a name that exits as a thing exists, magical, with a hidden interior. In prodding the creature the child is prodding the word crocodile. Or the child repeats the word, where repeating the word is like picking up a thing.
We forget perhaps the primitive genius of child cognition, inventing new grammas (‘me do it’). For the psychoanalyst, none of this quite exists. The child is never an improvisor inventing rules and scenarios to which it, the child, is also subject. All this is folded back into the Mother. All that is vital and different becomes a mask, a resemblance of some other thing posited as necessary by the psychoanalyst. The radical difference of the child’s world is never even considered.