It’s one of the strangest feelings you get as a parent, I find. It’s love, of course, but it is love which lingers under a strange surface, like a pond covered in algae. But in this case, the algae is a form of weird aggression.
‘Aggression’ is the wrong word: let me put it another way, in a simple sentence.
Whenever I pick up one of my sons (more so the toddler, as he’s just that bit chubbier), the first thing I want to do is bite his face.
Put the phone down, there’s no need to dial 999. It’s not ‘biting’ in a malicious way, if that makes sense. I don’t actually bite him at all. (Hopefully if you’re a parent yourself, you know what I’m talking about, otherwise I sound a bit weird.) I just get an overwhelming urge to eat him, to bite his chubby little cheeks after gently kneading his face with the heel of my palm.
Then I want to chew on his upper arms, his little baby bingo wings, after which I’ll pinch his little buttocks. And then I’ll chomp on his neck, burying my face in between his jaw and shoulder and going to town on his little podgy chops.
Maybe it is just because he’s a bit chubby, although this theory is flawed. After all, not many people react in such a way to older chubbies. You rarely see someone look at a photo of Vanessa Feltz and go “Oooh, I just want to sink my teeth into that backside.” Not unless they’re joking.
I don’t actually bite my son, of course. Instead, this weird emotion expresses itself as gritted teeth, a muttered “You’re so gorgeous”, followed by a pinch of the cheeks and my kissing his face incessantly until his squeals of laughter turn into annoyed growls as he pushes my face away.
Is there a name for this emotion? Not that I know of. I think we need to coin one. I’m going to call it the ‘chompies’, until I come up with a better word.
What I do know is that it’s all very bizarre, and certainly unlike any emotion I felt before I became a parent. Perhaps it’s what Mike Tyson had when he took a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear: it wasn’t aggression, but a bad case of the chompies. Maybe this is why lions sometimes eat their young, because they get carried away when suffering from a chompy bout. Does that make me a lion? I hope so. Rawrr, nom nom nom, etc.