In my office, only the one co-worker (let's call him Jed) has kids. If Jed's not leaving early, coming in late, or taking a long lunch for some kid-related happening, he's talking to them or the wife on the phone all day. It's distracting when he's there and limiting when he's not because the rest of us have to cover the office.
Joe has one of these as well - in his case a single mom. Part of me wants to applaud her for setting boundaries and putting her daughter first. And part of me wants to build a case to fire her and get Joe some actual help because on top of her short workdays and frequent absences, she also sucks at her job. It's hard to cheer her on for turning down 6pm meetings because of her daughter when it just ends up being one more thing Joe has to cover when his plate is already full enough.
Anyways, this is just a long way of getting to the point of this post - finally, we have a solution. Business Week magazine had a brief write-up in their most recent issue about a product called The Office Kid.
It's actually a little kit complete with a framed picture of a random kid (you specify gender and ethnicity), original artwork, and a welcome letter that includes starter excuses! For a small fee, you can order additional original artwork and doctor's notes on realistic stationary!
Rather than spend the $20 on a one-time photo though, I think it would be more realistic if I can borrow someone's actual kid - that way I can get updated photos. Anyone out there want to help me out? In return, I'll send your kid a birthday card every year with a crisp new $1 bill in it. I'm generous like that.