Pomelo Leaves Myth

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To stop a baby from crying non-stop bathe him with pomelo leaves.

Reason: Pomelos are supposed to have cleansing properties against spirits so bathing with the leaves will drive the spirits away.

True or False?

Answer: True

The pomelo fruit
The pomelo fruit

This myth came from my first uncle’s wife. (I have 7 uncles and 5 aunties on my mother’s side of the family).

When I first started my childcare centre in 2000, I had a couple of babies who just will not stop crying no matter what I did to pacify them. I get very stressed out when babies are not happy and I was running out of ideas on how to help them. It so happened that I visited my uncle that weekend and I mentioned the crying babies to my aunt-in-law and she told me about this myth.

A leaf from the pomelo tree
A leaf from the pomelo tree

Apparently small children are very susceptible to spirits from the other world and if they happen to encounter one they need to be cleansed using 7 pomelo leaves. According to all the races in Malaysia the time when the babies are most susceptible is from 7 to 7.30 p.m. My Malay neighbour always makes her children go indoors during this time and I always wondered why until I asked her one day. Even my Christian neighbour told me that this is the time when the angels are changing shift so there is no-one to watch over the babies. I always believe that living in a multi racial and multi cultural society; there is no harm in learning from each other if it will benefit our children.

Those days I was very skeptical about all these mumbo jumbo but when the babies were still crying for no apparent reasons, I thought, what the heck – why not give it a try, since it will not cause any physical or emotional harm to the babies. Two days after the bath the babies were completely different, they stopped crying except when they were hungry or dirty and they were interacting with me! Since then, I always use the bath whenever I have a baby who cries for no apparent reason.

pomelo-leaves-myth_liharng This is Li Harng when he first came to the centre. He cried almost the whole day and refuses to interact with anyone.
pomelo-leaves-myth_bowl Put 7 pomelo leaves into a basin and fill up the basin with warm water.
pomelo-leaves-myth_scoop After showering the baby, take some water in a scoop.
pomelo-leaves-myth_bathe1 Gently pour the water over the head and at the same time tell the child that he is being washed with special water, after which he will be happy and good.
pomelo-leaves-myth_bathe2 Pour the rest of the water over his body. Lift him out and dry as normal.
pomelo-leaves-myth_liharng2 It takes about 2 days before you can actually see results, so be patient. In the meantime, do not forget that babies thrive from love and affection so you need to demonstrate this with lots of hugs and kisses and not rely on the myth alone.

Did you know that all children are very vain? They love praises so always praise them when they achieve something no matter how trivial. I always clap my hands and tell the children ‘well done’ or ‘you are so clever/good’ when they achieve something. As they get older when I say ‘well done’ they will clap their hands and give me their biggest smiles.

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