Schleich animals, which she has been collecting for a while. We like that they're not expensive, they're realistic and introduce her to the natural world, and they don't look like prostitutes or shoot lasers or advertise television shows. She treats them with reverence and takes care of them like they are real.
Schuyler doesn't just collect them haphazardly, though. She builds little families, and beyond that, a community. She picks them out in little family groups if possible, and when she brings them home, she put them in a little line and introduces them to the rest of her animals. It's a complicated process, and I haven't quite figured out all the social dynamics.
When Schuyler received her octopus, she named it Henry for some unfathomable reason but almost certainly related to a penguin character on Oswald, one of the few octopus references in her world. (We're probably lucky she didn't name him "The Kraken".) Schuyler wasn't immediately sure what to do with this new creature. He's the only sea creature in the collection, so he has no obvious colleagues. He tended to hang out with the dinosaurs, but it wasn't a good fit and Schuyler seemed to realize that.
Over the weekend, we were in a hobby store looking for frames, and Schuyler quickly found a display of Schleich-wannabe animals. Earlier, she had surprised us with a statement on her Big Box of Words, totally at random. "Alligator eat rabbit." Now she found an alligator and had me look for a rabbit so she could show me how this brutal natural act would actually go down.
I found the rabbit, and she treated me to a dramatic interpretation. Yikes.
A few minutes later, as I was looking at frames a few feet away, Schuyler came running up to me excitedly. She held out an octopus, smaller than Henry but otherwise very similar.
"What do you have there?" I asked.
She pointed as if to indicate some place far away and signed "boy", then wiggled her fingers in a very octopus way. She then held up this new octopus and signed "girl" and "friend".
"ER-ehn!" she said.
"Wait a minute," I said. "Are you saying you want to get a girlfriend for your octopus?"
"Yeah," she said and then jumped happily.
I can only assume that Henry is in a happier state of being now, thanks to his octopus pimp hookup.