When I am about to leave, my youngest son will show affection by hugging me before I leave. When we are playing a game and he is really enjoying it, he will actually smile at me and hit me really quickly maybe 5 times a row. Sometimes this coincides snuggling his head into my body.
Initially I thought he was being angry or acting out, it has become clear that he only does it a happy face while we are doing something fun. (And not in an "I am overwhelmed" kind of way. Lately I respond by returning a hug instead of giving him a surprised or irritated face, and he likes that).
Anyway, when I try to google to understand this, keywords such as "affectionate hitting" simply return thousands of "anti-parent hitting children sites". Is there an term for when children do this so I can find more helpful thoughts/discussion about this?