It certainly isn't when they are all clustered around a chaotic lunch table, like deranged cattle in a holding pen, mooing loudly for more milk and food that has never been in my refrigerator but has been seen on TV.
It most definitely is not when all goes eerily quite in the playroom and I find them huddled around a mysteriously wet spot in the carpet, bathroom cup in hand but the toilet unfortunately unflushed.
I can safely say it is not when my daughter comes inside chewing happily on a mouthful of what turns out to be potting soil.
Nor is it when my son, who insists that he pee standing up like a grown man, suddenly turns to share some brilliant 4 year old insight mid-stream.
And it is not when the baby loudly and violently decides to reject the 3 mouthfuls of mashed green beans she was surreptitiously cheeking, like a sneaky little rodent, onto my face, hair, and all surrounding surfaces.
No, it is not those times. It is when all the troubles of the day fall away into pink cheeks, gentle sighs, and snuggled stuffed animals that they are their most adorable... but they are always loved.