When 8-Year-Old Twins Experience Pareidolia

Pareidolia is not the habit of swallowing the thick mucus you cough up. According to The Weird Encyclopedia, it’s a psychological condition for “the human habit of looking for the familiar in the unfamiliar.” I blogged about discovering the word pareidolia earlier this week. Basically, when you see a naturally-occurring heart in a fence by the bus stop (and you stop to photograph it and post it to Facebook), you’ve experienced pareidolia in the Age of Social Media.

Kids experience pareidolia often. My eight-year-old twins are always finding shapes in things, usually in the mold on the cheddar cheese that has become substantially more aged in our refrigerator than it was the month we bought it in the supermarket.

Sometimes Vivian and William force pareidolia. Instead of finding a shape or pattern, they make it, usually out of food. It’s not pareidolia, but playing-with-your-food-ee-a.

This was the scene at lunch a while ago. I made one criticism, and then my twins hijacked the manners lesson.

“Vivian, stop playing with your food,” I said.

Vivian, who has mastered the fine art of twisting my words to her advantage, said, “I’m not playing with it, I’m making a cross out of cheese. Then I’m going to eat it.”

Vivian finished and took a bite of her creation.

William looked up from his desiccated bagel and stared at his sister. “You’re eating Jesus on the cross!” he said.

Vivian corrected him. “If I had peas, I’d make Jesus.”

William laughed.

“But I wouldn’t eat him,” Vivian said.

She looked at me, smiled, and added, “I don’t like peas.”

Good to know we got our money’s worth at Vacation Bible School this summer.


I think I saw the initial “L” in the bubbles when Mr. Darcy (a.k.a. Colin Firth) dove into the pond in BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice. What pareidolia have you experienced (or would you like to experience)?


  1. Lana says

    Or, maybe Vivian’s on to something, and your hard earned dollars put towards VBS did some good… She said that she’d make Jesus out of peas? Is that because her VBS teacher taught her that Jesus is the “Prince of peace”, and she was stuck on the VeggieTales version?! Just a thought… :)

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