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Suppose I have $$C^2D^2 + C^4 - 2C^3D$$ where $C$ and $D$ are small numbers. The order should be worst case scenario, I am unsure how to write it. Can I say it's "order 2 in $C$" and "order 1 in $D$" even if they correspond to different terms?

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Maybe heurisitically.. not that $C$ and $D$ are both small numbers. Use power counting (look at the exponents of those expressions) and see that is a sum of three terms of a small number to the fourth, which can be thought as an expression of order 4. – Jorge Nov 14 '12 at 10:04

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