Not behind the child but between them.
Mog's hand, a tightly clenched fist, getting tighter the straighter her arm is pulled, nails digging into her palm unless her brace is worn most of the time. A hot little hand; it can't grasp toys or pens but can knock toys over and press buttons if they are in easy reach.
Little Fish's hand, baby pudgily soft and squidgy. Too soft; the thumb joint pops and dislocates and she too needs hand braces. A hand with the power to grasp a wheelchair tire and push down, whizzing herself around, and yet is just beginning to be delicate enough to pick and remove stringy bits from bananas and seeded bits from bread.
My hand, holding the girls' hands. Stopping Little Fish from tugging too hard on Mog's hand and causing her pain. Gently pulling on Mog's arm to stretch the elbow joint, gently manipulating Little Fish's hand to put the thumb back in its socket. A gentle hand, used for soothing troubled brows and brushing hair, patting backs and rubbing necks, giving meds and dressing children. And a tough hand; unscrewing bottle caps and chopping butternut squash and preventing small child from escaping through the front door, pushing herself into traffic, or generally destroying the house.
Busy hands, all. Even Mog's, which appears so stiff and useless - it has its uses. Flinging her arms wide, it can be used to knock radios off stools or bottles off tables. She has perfected the fisted wave; a very subtle movement of the forearm which in other children would be a frantic elbow dislocating frenzy, a gentle Mog Goodbye.
Too busy, Little Fish's; books are ripped and walls graffitti'd (no, she didn't do this painting, that's from our church carpark; her works are generally limited to biro squiggles. So far...), telephones dialed and cupboards emptied. Even now, asleep, her hands are busy - one gently rubbing her other forearm and seeking out dry patches on the sleeve of her pyjamas, the other partly being sucked through that same sleeve, and partly patting the nosepiece from her Nippy.
Six hands here and yet we need more. I hope our missing carers will turn up tomorrow.